Crop Biotech Update

RNAi-Mediated Resistance of Transgenic Lettuce to Whiteflies

September 27, 2017

Abdulrazak B. Ibrahim of Embrapa Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia, together with colleagues, constructed an RNAi-based plasmid that targets the v-ATPase enzyme, known to have diverse functions in membranes including ion transport, in whitefly (Bemisia tabaci). The transgene was transformed into selected lettuce (Lactuca sativa) plants. The presence of the transgene was confirmed in T0 and T1 generations of transgenic lettuce lines, segregating in a Mendelian fashion.

Seven lines were infested with whiteflies and monitored over a period of 32 days. Analysis showed that within five days of feeding, insects that fed on transgenic plants showed a mortality rate of 83.8–98.1%. Moreover, a huge reduction in the number of eggs was observed in flies feeding on transgenic lettuce plants than on control lines. Analysis of the whiteflies showed decreased expression level of endogenous v-ATPase gene in whiteflies feeding on transgenic plants.

This study could be a foundation for the production of whitefly-resistant commercial crops.

For more information, read the article in Transgenic Research.