The first crop plant genetically engineered to release an insect pheromone for defence

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Bruce, T. J. A., Aradottir, G. I., Smart, L. E., Martin, J. L., Caulfield, J. C., Doherty, A., Sparks, C. A., Woodcock, C. M., Birkett, M. A., Napier, J. A., Jones, H. D. and Pickett, J. A. 2015. The first crop plant genetically engineered to release an insect pheromone for defence. Scientific Reports. 5, p. 11183.

AuthorsBruce, T. J. A., Aradottir, G. I., Smart, L. E., Martin, J. L., Caulfield, J. C., Doherty, A., Sparks, C. A., Woodcock, C. M., Birkett, M. A., Napier, J. A., Jones, H. D. and Pickett, J. A.
Abstract

Insect pheromones offer potential for managing pests of crop plants. Volatility and instability are problems for deployment in agriculture but could be solved by expressing genes for the biosynthesis of pheromones in the crop plants. This has now been achieved by genetically engineering a hexaploid variety of wheat to release (E)-β-farnesene (Eβf), the alarm pheromone for many pest aphids, using a synthetic gene based on a sequence from peppermint with a plastid targeting amino acid sequence, with or without a gene for biosynthesis of the precursor farnesyl diphosphate. Pure Eβf was produced in stably transformed wheat lines with no other detectable phenotype but requiring targeting of the gene produced to the plastid. In laboratory behavioural assays, three species of cereal aphids were repelled and foraging was increased for a parasitic natural enemy. Although these studies show considerable potential for aphid control, field trials employing the single and double constructs showed no reduction in aphids or increase in parasitism. Insect numbers were low and climatic conditions erratic suggesting the need for further trials or a closer imitation, in the plant, of alarm pheromone release. 

KeywordsRRES175; 175_Plant sciences; 175_Genetics; 175_Entomology
Year of Publication2015
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation5, p. 11183
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1038/srep11183
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Funder project or codeDelivering Sustainable Systems (SS) [ISPG]
Wheat
Publisher's versionsrep11183.pdf
Publication dates
Online25 Jun 2015
Publication process dates
Accepted30 Apr 2015
Copyright licenseCC BY
PublisherSpringer Nature
Nature Publishing Group
ISSN2045-2322

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