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Crop Biotech Update

Pyramiding of Modified Bt genes in Chickpea for Better Resistance to Pod Borer

August 26, 2011

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is the second important legume planted across the globe next to soybeans. It is a major source of dietary protein both for human consumption and feed for livestock. Despite the huge demand for the crop, the global yield of chickpea is stagnating for the past twenty years due to various biotic and abiotic stresses that affect its growth.

One of the ways to improve the production of the crop is through the use of modern biotechnology techniques. Thus, Meenakshi Mehrotr of the National Botanical Research Institute in India, together with other researchers obtained stable transgenic chickpea using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of cotyledonary nodes (CN) with dicot-preferred modified truncated synthetic cry1Ab and cry1Ac genes.

Based on the insect bioassay performed with the transgenic plants, there was relatively higher toxicity for plants with Cry1AC protein compared to Cry1Ab to pod borer insect (Helicoverpa armigera). Transgenic plants with medium expression of stacked Bt genes exhibited strong resistance and protection against pod borer larvae than plants with high expression of a single Bt gene. Results showed the importance of pyramiding genes and co-expression of Bt genes for effective protection against lepidopteran pests of chickpea.

Read the abstract at http://www.springerlink.com/content/g2978h5u4123t276/.