Sugarcane plants with lectin transgene for stemborer resistance showed
Sugarcane (Saccharum sp.), cultivar CP65-357, line 83.
Mannose-binding lectin gene for the production of the protein
GNA (snowdrop lectin), derived from the snowdrop (Galanthus
nivalis). The gene was fused to the maize ubiquitin promoter so that
the gene would be expressed in all parts of the plant.
Create transgenic sugarcane that produces snowdrop lectin (GNA) in all
its tissues. GNA is toxic to a variety of insect larvae, including
the stemborer Eoreuma loftini, which is the principle pest
of sugarcane in south Texas. Over goal is to improve control of the
stemborer Eoreuma loftini.
Transgenic sugarcane does produce snowdrop lectin and is toxic to
In greenhouse experiments, adult moths of the stemborer laid
significantly fewer eggs and fewer egg masses on transgenic sugarcane
than on unmanipulated control plants. This was, in the authors' view,
related to morphological differences between the transgenic sugarcane
plants and unmanipulated controls. At three months the transgenic plants
The moths laid more eggs on the controls with their greater height and
more dry leaves.
were significantly shorter than controls (with an average height of 127
cm, they were on average 41 cm shorter than controls);
had two to three fewer leaves overall, including fewer drier leaves.
The authors conclude: "Although this unintentional effect of transgenic
sugarcane is positive in the context of pest management, it underscores
the validity of concerns over unanticipated consequences of releasing
transgenic organisms" (p. 892).
Bernal, J. S. and M. Sëtamou (2003). "Fortuitous Antixenosis in Transgenic
Sugarcane: Antibiosis-Expressing Cultivar is Refractory to Ovipositing
Herbivore Pests," Environmental Entomology vol. 32, pp. 886-94.
Biological Control Laboratory, Texas A & M University.
Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers.
Not on the market as of 2008.
Copyright 2008 The Nature