Bitter melon genes can protect rice

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SHEATH BLIGHT (SB) caused by Rhizoctonia solani fungus is one of the problems in rice production, but scientists have not found a source of resistance within the rice germplasm. Researchers from Southwest University in China tested a gene from bitter melon. The findings published in Transgenic Research. The research team developed transgenic lines harboring the chitinase gene (McCHIT1) of bitter melon with good SB resistance. Then they inoculated the trans- genic and wild-type rice plants with hyphae of highly pathogenic SB strain. Results showed that there was higher SB disease incidence in wild-type plants than in transgenic lines.