RNAi Silencing of Aflatoxin Synthesis

Silencing of Aflatoxin Synthesis Through RNA Interference (RNAi) in Peanut Plants

PMIL researcher, Renee Arias, recognized by Obama for contribution to science
Q&A with Abdi Hassen
More than a dozen Ethiopian students learn aflatoxin testing system
PMIL researcher releases genomes of nine A. flavus isolates

The overall goal of this project is to use RNA interference (RNAi) to reduce aflatoxin contamination of peanut seeds.

PMIL funds the study of genetic diversity of fungus that produces aflatoxin in crops. Paired with research funded by the NBCRI, the work could transform peanut plants to stop attached fungus from creating toxin.

For the genetic diversity studies, samples were analyzed from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and the US and fingerprinted using sequences within the aflatoxin synthesis gene cluster.

Several African scientists working on the project visited the National Peanut Research Laboratory (NPRL) in Dawson, Ga., for hands-on training.

Three African peanut varieties (CG 7, JL 24 and ICGV 90704) are being transformed at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, using RNAi molecular constructs provided by NPRL.

Lead Scientist

Dr. Renee S. Arias, Research Pathologist

More about Arias

Research Collaborators

Auburn University

  • Dr. Charles Chen

Haramaya University

  • Dr. Abdi Mohammed Hassen

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

  • Dr. Samuel Njoroge

Kenyatta University

  • Dr. Steven Runo

National Crops Resources Research Institute

  • Dr. Julius Serumaga

USDA-ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory

  • Dr. Phat Dang
  • Dr. Marshall Lamb
  • Dr. Victor Sobolev

 USDA-ARS Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Unit

  • Dr. Brian Scheffler

Partner Institution


Research Locations

Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Zambia


February 1, 2014 - July 31, 2017

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