Exogenous RNA interference (RNAi) is a plant disease control strategy effective against viruses, insect pests and fungal pathogens. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is exogenously applied to plants to trigger the silencing of targeted pest/pathogen genes. We have been exploring exogenous RNAi as a novel control for Phytophthora root rot and myrtle rust, diseases which are destroying natural plant populations across Australia and causing economic losses to horticulture, forestry and native plant industries. Our ultimate goal is to develop a clean green safe control strategy for these invasive diseases to safeguard Australian agriculture, with long-term benefits for conservation and biodiversity.

Anthony headshotDr Anne Sawyer

Dr Anne Sawyer is an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow developing RNAi-based protection technologies against plant pathogens. Anne completed her PhD at the IMB, UQ on the regulation of photosynthetic gene expression followed by a postdoc at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany on microalgal hydrogen production. She returned to Australia and UQ in 2018 to work with Prof Bernie Carroll and Prof Neena Mitter on RNAi-based plant protection. Anne works closely with partners at DAF, Scion New Zealand, Nufarm Australia, Greenlife Industry Australia, Australian Pineapples, Howe Farming Enterprises, Australian Native Products and the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association.

Dr Anne Sawyer, Research Fellow at Centre for Horticultural Science E: a.sawyer@uq.edu.au

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Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation hosts science seminars across the disciplines of animal, horticulture, crop, food and nutritional sciences.

With a range of speakers from Australia and abroad, the series explores how high-impact science will significantly improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the tropical and sub-tropical food, fibre and agribusiness sectors.

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The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is a research institute at The University of Queensland supported by the Queensland Government via the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.


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