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Resistance mechanisms against plant-parasitic nematodes

Plant-parasitic nematodes cause diseases of nearly all crop plants of economic importance. Only a small number of resistant crop varieties have been obtained through breeding programmes so far. These resistances are often based on single resistance genes and can break down after several generations. The most commonly used practices to keep nematode infections at an acceptable level are crop rotation schemes and chemical control through soil sterilization and nematicides. The use of these very often extremely toxic agrochemicals has reached unacceptably high levels resulting in national and EC guidelines aimed at the drastic reduction of these chemicals within the next decade. In this context the development of alternative methods to combat nematodes are urgently needed.

The concerted action sponsored collaborations, exchange visits-and scientific meetings of 16 leading European groups working on plant-parasitic nematodes. The major scientific highlights emerging as a direct consequence of this EC Concerted Action are: the development of Arabidopsis as a new model system to understand plant-nematode interactions on molecular level; the generation and screening of a promoter tagging library which provided the basis for the isolation of plant promoters and genes with putative pathogenesis-related functions; the cloning of the first nematode resistance gene, the Hsl gene form Beta procumbens. Another interesting research area, which has progressed significantly during this period, concerns the identification of monoclonal antibodies binding to various molecular components of the nematode and their application in a plantibody approach to resistance During the funding period a total of 15 joint publications were submitted by the participants to reputed academic journals. At the end of the project all participants contributed to a book reviewing the field of molecular plant nematology and emphasizing the scientific achievements of the groups participating in this Concerted Action Program


Stephan OHL
Tel.: +31-71-258282
Fax: +31-71-221471
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