Grant awarded to Zhi Ping 'Gordon' Xu for non-transgenic modification of crops

30 Nov 2018

Professor Zhi Ping Xu and his collaborators, Professor Bernard Carroll; Professor Neena Mitter are awarded a Discovery Project Grant for research into clay nanoparticle-facilitated RNAi for non-transgenic modification of crops. This project aims to define the most effective spray formulations, consisting of clay nanoparticles and induced RNA interference (RNAi) to manipulate gene expression in plants. Topical application of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) for RNAi represents an attractive alternative to genetically engineered crops. However, naked dsRNA is unstable and is not efficiently taken up by plants. For these reasons, topical application of dsRNA has thus far produced only modest induction of RNAi in plants. Nanoparticle-facilitated manipulation of gene expression in plants will enable sustainable clean green strategies for protecting crops from diseases. This project will result in improved crop protection and productivity and boost the export potential of Australian crops.

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