Introgression of a cry1Ab transgene into open pollinated maize and its effect on Cry protein concentration and target pest survival

Autoři: Reynardt Erasmus aff001;  Rialet Pieters aff001;  Hannalene Du Plessis aff001;  Angelika Hilbeck aff002;  Miluse Trtikova aff002;  Annemie Erasmus aff003;  Johnnie Van den Berg aff001
Působiště autorů: Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa aff001;  ETH Zurich, IBZ, Plant Ecological Genetics, Zurich, Switzerland aff002;  ARC-Grain Crops, Potchefstroom, South Africa aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226476


In Africa, the target pests of genetically modified Bt maize are lepidopteran stem borers, notably Busseola fusca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Gene flow between Bt maize hybrids and open pollinated varieties (OPVs) that do not contain the Bt trait is highly likely in areas where both types of maize are cultivated. Consequently, introgression of the cry1Ab transgene into local OPVs will result in unknown patterns of Cry1Ab protein expression in plants during follow-up seasons when recycled seed of OPVs is planted. Too low concentrations of Cry protein in such plants may result in selection for resistant alleles and accelerate resistance evolution. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of introgression of the cry1Ab transgene into an OPV, on Cry protein concentration levels and pest survival. Bt transgene introgression was done by crossing a transgenic donor hybrid containing the cry1Ab gene with a non-Bt OPV as well as with a non-Bt near-isogenic hybrid. F1 and F2 crosses as well as back crosses were done yielding 11 genotypes (treatments). Cry1Ab protein concentrations in leaf tissue of these crosses were determined by means of ELISAs. All crosses that contained the transgene had similar or higher Cry1Ab concentrations when compared to the Bt parental hybrid, except for the Bt x OPV F1-cross that had a significantly lower Cry1Ab concentration. Survival B. fusca larvae were evaluated in assays in which larvae were reared for 14 days on whorl leaf tissue of the different treatments. Larval survival did not differ between any of the maize plant treatments which contained the Bt gene. Results suggest that Bt transgene introgression into OPVs may produce plant progenies that express Cry1Ab protein at sufficient concentrations, at last up to the F2 seed, to control B. fusca larvae. Resistance evolution is however not only influenced by the frequency of pest individuals that survive exposure to the Cry proteins but also by factors such as genetics of the pest and recipient OPV, pest biology and migration behaviour.

Klíčová slova:

Agricultural workers – Evolutionary genetics – Gene flow – Genetically modified plants – Introgression – Larvae – Maize – Seeds


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