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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Disruption of the Cell Death Protection Gene CED-9 in Caenorhabditis elegans Using RNA Interference (RNAi)

EPA Grant Number: U916083
Title: Disruption of the Cell Death Protection Gene CED-9 in Caenorhabditis elegans Using RNA Interference (RNAi)
Investigators: Gaeta, Robert T.
Institution: California State University - Fresno
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $23,535
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2002)
Research Category: Biology/Life Sciences , Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Natural and Life Sciences



The objective of this research project is to use the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to present evidence that nematode fecundity can be controlled by exposure to dsRNA molecules (dsRNAs) in their food and environment.


Plant-pathogenic nematodes result in substantial damage to agriculture worldwide. Methyl bromide, an environmentally unfriendly compound, is the most useful pesticide for combating such nematodes. Plant biotechnology can provide tools to manage nematodes, as it has with some insects, and a novel approach could exploit the mechanism of RNA interference to target nematode cell death pathways. Specifically, dsRNAs targeting the cell death protection gene ced-9 were shown to be effective at decreasing the fecundity of C. elegans by 30 percent. Furthermore, Zeldia punctata, a nematode more closely related to pathogenic species, also showed decreases in fecundity. Therefore, cell death protection genes may prove useful as targets for developing transgenic plants with resistance to plant-pathogenic nematodes.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, Caenorhabditis elegans, plant-pathogenic nematodes, pesticides, nematode cell death pathways, cell death protection, transgenic plants.

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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