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CA COST Action CA15223
Modifying plants to produce interfering RNA

Methods to exploit plant defence mechanisms or changing plant metabolism by RNA silencing show great potential. Interfering RNA can be used to improve plant composition while enhancing levels of beneficial nutrients, and to improve plant productivity by suppressing undesirable traits and switching resources to more beneficial quality and yield traits.Gene expression in pathogens and pests can be targeted and plants modified to produce dsRNAs which trigger silencing and affect essential physiological functions in pest or disease-causing organisms.

Many of the modes of activity of the micro- and small interfering RNAs (miRNAs, siRNAs) that mediate the silencing effect are not yet fully understood and knowledge of systemic propagation, turnover, specificity etc. of these molecules is limited.

This Action will define and coordinate the most important research tasks for the development of these novel transgenic strategies across many EU and nearby countries with inputs from cooperating researchers in Associated countries in N and S America, Australasia etc..

Activities Include :

a) Evaluation of the efficacy of the RNA molecules for the induction of disease and pest resistance and metabolic changes .

b) Examination of the specificity of the selected miRNAs and siRNAs and their impacts on both target and non-target/off-target systems.

c) Developing specific risk assessment and risk management guidelines which relate specific effects of the miRNAs and siRNAs on food, feed and the environment.

d) Understanding the modes of transmission, uptake, systemic spread and degradation of dsRNAs, mi- and siRNAs.

f) Determining the environmental and socio-economic impacts of plantRNAi technology and products

(Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.)

General Information*

Chair of the Action:

Prof Bruno MEZZETTI (IT)

Vice Chair of the Action:

Dr Jeremy SWEET (UK)

Science officer of the Action:


Administrative officer of the Action:



Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF

Memorandum of Understanding

Download MoU as PDF


Action website:

* content provided by e-COST.
Data is synchronised once per night.


Last updated: 27 February 2016 top of page