Biotech Updates

TcCHS Gene Confers Strong Resistance Against Cotton Aphids

February 14, 2018

Aphids are pests of chrysanthemum that use plant volatiles to select host plants. They ingest cell contents to test the quality of the host before engaging in prolonged feeding and reproduction. Changes in metabolite profiles can disrupt aphid–plant interactions and provide new methods of pest control.

To test this theory, Hao Hu of Huazhong Agricultural University in China and Wageningen University in the Netherlands overexpressed the dalmatian pyrethrum (Tanacetum cinerariifolium) TcCHS gene, encoding chrysanthemol synthase, in chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium).

Overexpression resulted in the transgenic chrysanthemum emitting volatile chrysanthemol, with no detrimental phenotypic effects. Analysis showed that the TcCHS-overexpressing plants significantly reduced aphid reproduction, consistent with disturbance of aphid probing activities on these plants. In open-field trials, aphid population development was very strongly impaired demonstrating the robustness and high impact of the trait.

These results suggest that expression of the TcCHS gene can induce a defense system. This study also introduces a promising new option for engineering aphid control into plants.

For more information on this study, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.