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Insect Resistant Cotton Plants


We have expressed truncated forms of the insect control protein genes of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki HD-1(cryIA(b)) and HD-73 (cryIA(c)) in cotton plants at levels that provided effective control of agronomically important lepidopteran insect pests. Total protection from insect damage of leaf tissue from these plants was observed in laboratory assays when tested with two lepidopteran insects, an insect relatively sensitive to the B.t.k. insect control protein, Trichoplusia ni (cabbage looper) and an insect that is 100 fold less sensitive, Spodoptera exigua (beet armyworm). Whole plants, assayed under conditions of high insect pressure with Heliothis zea (cotton bollworm) showed effective square and boll protection. Immunological analysis of the cotton plants indicated that the insect control protein represented 0.05% to 0.1% of the total soluble protein. We view these results as a major step towards the agricultural use of genetically modified plants with insect resistance in this valuable, high acreage crop.

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Perlak, F., Deaton, R., Armstrong, T. et al. Insect Resistant Cotton Plants. Nat Biotechnol 8, 939–943 (1990).

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