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Crop Biotech Update

Growth and Development of Colorado Potato Beetle Larvae on Potatoes Expressing the Rice OCII Gene

September 2, 2015

Plant proteinase inhibitors (PIs) are attractive tools for crop improvement and their heterologous expression can enhance insect resistance in transgenic plants. PI oryzacystatin II (OCII), isolated from rice, showed potential in controlling pests.

To evaluate the efficacy of the OCII gene in enhancing plant defense, Aleksandar Cingel of the University of Belgrade in Serbia developed OCII-transformed potatoes and evaluated them for resistance to Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say).

Feeding on the leaves of the transgenic potato significantly affected larval growth and development. However, it did not affect mortality rates. The larvae also consumed the transgenic foliage faster as compared to the control. The larvae reached the pre-pupal stage earlier than those fed on control leaves.

With the earlier maturation of the larvae, the amount of OCII-transformed leaves consumed was significantly lower than that of control. The weights of pre-pupal larvae were also reduced by 18% as compared to larvae that fed on the control. This reduction in insect fitness, in combination with other control measures, may lead to improved CPB resistance management in potato.

For more on the featured study, read the full article on Transgenic Research.