The use of reverse genetics to investigate plant-parasite interactions

  • Steven Dyer

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis demonstrates the development and use of a novel Virus Induced Gene Silencing platform to investigate the interactions of plants and parasites. Host and parasite genes are targeted using this technology which when silenced indicate their involvement in establishing pathogenicity. The several root-expressed transporter proteins and Ethylene Response Factor genes in tomato were shown to be influential in the composition of Plant Root Exudate as well as the attraction and hatching of different plant nematode species. Silencing of the Phytoene Desaturase gene in the holoparasitic plant Cuscuta campestris was also shown to hinder growth, branching and a reduce the production of tissue carotenoid biosynthesis. Taken together the results of this thesis offer new avenues for targeted treatment of globally relevant crop pests and lay the groundwork for further study.

Date of AwardJul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorAaron Maule (Supervisor) & Jonathan Dalzell (Supervisor)


  • VIGS
  • reverse genetics
  • plant parasitic nematodes
  • plants
  • abc transporters
  • ethylene response factors
  • parasite
  • plant transformation
  • agrobacterium

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