Genetic modification to improve disease resistance in crops

H. Peter van Esse, T. Lynne Reuber, Dieuwertje van der Does

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Plant pathogens are a significant challenge in agriculture despite our best efforts to combat them. One of the most effective and sustainable ways to manage plant pathogens is to use genetic modification (GM) and genome editing, expanding the breeder's toolkit. For use in the field, these solutions must be efficacious, with no negative effect on plant agronomy, and deployed thoughtfully. They must also not introduce a potential allergen or toxin. Expensive regulation of biotech crops is prohibitive for local solutions. With 11-30% average global yield losses and greater local impacts, tackling plant pathogens is an ethical imperative. We need to increase world food production by at least 60% using the same amount of land, by 2050. The time to act is now and we cannot afford to ignore the new solutions that GM provides to manage plant pathogens. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-86
Number of pages17
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number1
Early online date28 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • biotechnology
  • food security
  • genetic modification
  • plant disease
  • plant pathogens
  • resistance

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