The issue of genetically modified plants has been widely discussed in the media in the last few months, focussing on experiments on aphid-resistant wheat. Now a group from the Research and Development Center of Plant Resources in Shanghai have produced aphid-resistant tobacco plants by genetic modification.
Guoyin Kai and colleagues inserted an agglutinin cDNA from the creeping vine Monstera deliciosa into the tobacco plant genome. Agglutinins can be toxic, helping to defend the plant from potential attack. After confirming that the transgene was indeed expressed in the plants, the group challenged the plants with peach-potato aphids. The modified plants not only reduced adult aphid numbers over the course of 10 days, they also reduced insect fecundity.
This is the first time that a gene from Monstera deliciosa has been used to produce modified plants. It could be a future source of genes that might help us in our challenge to feed the world’s growing population. To find out more, download the article here – it’s free for the next four weeks.
Expression of Monstera deliciosa agglutinin gene (mda) in tobacco confers resistance to peach-potato aphids
Guoyin Kai, Qian Ji, Yang Lu, Zhongying Qian and Lijie Cui