Insect resistance and risk assessment studies of advanced generations of basmati rice expressing two genes of Bacillus thuringiensis
Financial support: Grants from Ministry of Science and Technology and Higher Education Commission of the Government of Pakistan.
Keywords: bio-safety, cry1Ac, cry2A, gene flow, field trials, gene pyramiding, insect resistance.
Advanced generations of different transgenic lines of indica basmati rice (Basmati-370) expressing two unrelated Bt genes, cry1Ac and cry2A were evaluated for resistance to Yellow Stem Borer (YSB) and Rice Leaf Folder (RLF) under field conditions compared to control lines over three years (2003-2005). Homozygous lines were selected and analyzed for insect resistance, morphological, physiochemical properties and risk assessment studies. After artificial infestation of target insects, the transgenic plants showed significant resistance. Data were recorded in terms of dead hearts and white heads at vegetative and flowering stage respectively. Transgenic lines showed up to 100 and 96% resistance against yellow stem borer at vegetative and flowering stages, respectively. Natural damage of rice leaf folder was also observed during the year 2005. The transgenic plants were 98% more resistant as compared to untransformed control plants. Variations in some morphological characteristics, e.g., the average number of tillers, plant height and maturity were also observed. Transgenic lines produced 40% more grains than control plants. All these characteristics were stably inherited in advanced generations. The transgenic lines had no significant effect on non-target insects (insects belonging to orders other than Lepidoptera and Diptera) in field or under storage conditions. Chances of pollen-mediated gene flow were recorded at a rate of 0.14%.