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  • Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone

Breakthrough Scientific Discovery Could Control Soybean Cyst Nematode

Researchers at Kansas State University have announced a breakthrough that has the power to control the spread of the soybean cyst nematode – a pest found in 29 U.S. states, South America, and Asia that has cost soybean farmers up to $500 million per year according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates.

The university announced that it has received a patent on a technology that can “silence” certain genes in the nematode that at the least would stop it from reproducing, or at most, kill it. In greenhouse studies that have been conducted, researchers found that the gene silencing technology has reduced soybean nematode populations by 85 percent.

Because the technology is of a genetic nature, it will be years before it could be commercialized for use by farmers due to stringent regulatory scrutiny. However, scientists are hopeful that the technology will one day be able to be expanded to other nematodes that affect grasses, fruits, and vegetables.

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