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Crop Biotech Update

ISAAA Blog Post: The Trial of Bt Talong Field Trials

December 14, 2016

With the success in the adoption of biotech corn in the Philippines, the Institute of Plant Breeding at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPLB) spearheaded the development of a biotech eggplant that provides resistance to its chronic pest, the fruit and shoot borer. Eggplant production provides an important source of cash income for small and resource-poor farmers in the country, and accounts for more than 30% of the volume of vegetable production.

The eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) is a lepidopterous insect whose larva consumes the inner part of the eggplant fruit. Damage caused by the EFSB normally results to nearly 80% of yield loss especially during high incidence of infestation. The pest's gut, similar to that of the corn borer, is affected by the toxin produced by the cry1a gene. Hence, similar to the first commercialized biotech corn, Bt talong use the gene from the soil borne bacteria Bacillus thuringensis to control EFSB.

As with other biotech crops developed in the Philippines and elsewhere, Bt talong followed a rigorous regulatory guidelines and review throughout its research and development process. Research activities on Bt talong followed the strict regulatory requirements stipulated in the Philippine Biosafety Guidelines and the DA AO8 designed to minimize and manage the risks to both human health and to the environment of biotech products produced through modern biotechnology.

Continue reading at the ISAAA blog. This article written by Panfilo De Guzman was published in the special issue of BIOLIFE Magazine released during the Philippine National Biotechnology Week.