Clay nanoparticle-facilitated RNAi for non-transgenic modification of crops (2019–2022)
Topical application of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) for induced RNA interference (RNAi) represents an attractive alternative to genetically engineered crops. However, naked dsRNA is unstable and furthermore, 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. This project aims to identify the most effective form of dsRNA for inducing systemic RNAi in plants, and develop clay nanoparticles to facilitate the uptake and movement of dsRNA in plants for maximal systemic RNAi. The key outcome from the project will be robust strategies for nanoparticle-mediated non-transgenic trait modification, including improved crop protection and productivity.