Biotech Updates

Assessing the Impacts of Insecticidal Proteins to the Green Lacewing

March 28, 2008

One of the major concerns with the use of insecticidal protein-expressing transgenic crops is their possible effects on target organisms. Using a novel bioassay, a group of scientists from Switzerland evaluated the effect of several insecticidal proteins on the green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea). Green lacewing is a common predator, usually of aphids and other soft-bodied arthropods, in Western and Central Europe.

 Lacewing larvae were exposed to sucrose solution containing different toxic proteins. The researchers were able to establish that the larvae are sensitive to ingested avidin and snowdrop lectin (GNA), two proteins that are known to be relative broad-spectrum in their activity. In contrast the soybean trypsin inhibitor (SBTI) and two Bt Cry proteins (Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac) did not cause any direct effects on the developing larvae. This confirms that the larvae of this important predatory species are not directly affected by the Bt Cry proteins that are expressed in most of today's Bt maize and cotton varieties.

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