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How Frog Eggs Help Grapevines

If you love wine, you may start looking at frogs as princes. The Missouri University College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (CAFNR) reports on work being done at the university to combat the plant disease known as powdery mildew. Scientists have "...used frog eggs to determine the cause of this disease, and have found that a specific gene in the varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, contributes to its susceptibility."

Professor Walter Gassmann is the guy we all may need to send a bottle of Cabernet to as thanks. CAFNR News answers the question, why frog eggs? And what did he discover that may combat or prevent powdery mildew?

"Gassmann used unfertilized frog eggs to test and analyze genes found in the grapevine plants. He studied the biological role of a specific gene that contributes to grapevine’s susceptibility to the fungus by incubating it in the frog eggs. Gassmann found that the fungus is able to trick the grapevine into providing nutrients, which allows mildew to grow and devastate the plant. His findings reveal one way that Vitis vinifera is genetically unable to combat the virus that causes powdery mildew."

So not only do you need to give your gratitude to Professor Gassmann, but also raise a glass to frogs everywhere.



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