Ms Bianca Hattingh

MSc student


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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Primary Supervisor
Sanushka Naidoo

I joined FABI in 2021 during my honours year when I joined the EPPI team. Our team focuses on defence- and resistance interactions in Eucalyptus and Pine. My project is an extension of my honours project and focuses on the resistance gene NPR1.

The non-expressor of pathogenesis related genes 1 (NPR1) is an important positive regulator of systemic acquired resistance and a useful resistance tool. Biotechnological approaches have used overexpression of Arabidopsis NPR1 to increase disease resistance in crops and agronomically important plants. Given the commercial importance of Eucalyptus, the potential for NPR1 orthologs as candidate defense genes should be investigated. Orthologs of NPR1 have been found in Eucalyptus grandis- but have not been functionally characterised. This is because current transformation protocols of Eucalyptus are not feasible for functional testing of candidate genes. The hairy root transformation system looks promising as a transformation tool for Eucalyptus. We hypothesise that overexpression of AtNPR1 in Eucalyptus hairy roots will enhance resistance against the root pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi, and provide a proof of concept for Eucalyptus-pathogen pathosystems.