Transgenic crops are now grown commercially in 25 countries worldwide. Although pathogens represent major constraints for the growth of many crops, only a tiny proportion of these transgenic crops carry disease resistance traits. Nevertheless, transgenic disease-resistant plants represent approximately 10% of the total number of approved field trials in North America, a proportion that has remained constant for 15 years. In this review, we explore the socioeconomic and biological reasons for the paradox that although technically useful solutions now exist for providing transgenic disease resistance, very few new crops have been introduced to the global market. For bacteria and fungi, the majority of transgenic crops in trials express antimicrobial proteins. For viruses, three-quarters of the transgenics express coat protein (CP) genes. There is a notable trend toward more biologically sophisticated solutions involving components of signal transduction pathways regulating plant defenses. For viruses, RNA interference is increasingly being used.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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