Crop Biotech Update

Effect of GNA Potato on Peach-potato Aphid

November 4, 2011

GNA (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin) is a sugar-binding protein naturally-occurring in snowdrop plants (Galanthus nivalis). Genetically modified potatoes expressing GNA (GNA potatoes) were developed to improve resistance against sap-feeding insects. The effects of GNA potatoes on peach-potato aphid (Myzus persicae), an important pest, have not been reported. Thus, Solveig Sørbu Aasena and Eline Benestad Hågvar of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences investigated the performance of peach-potato aphid on potatoes expressing low GNA by measuring the pest's developmental time, fecundity, size and survival. They also studied the colonization behavior of the pest by letting the winged aphids choose between the GNA potato and non-GM potato plants.

Results showed that there is no significant difference in the performance of the non-winged aphids exposed to GNA potatoes and non-GM potatoes. Choice experiment showed that the GNA potato plants were less likely to be colonized by the winged aphids. Therefore, potatoes expressing low GNA have no impact on the performance of the aphids but may affect the colonization behavior of the winged aphids.

Read the abstract at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09064710.2011.619996.