Tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) is a major pest of tomato. This insect
feeds on almost every part of the plant, causing plant death. Furthermore,
this pest is difficult to control with chemical sprays. Researchers from
Izmir Institute of Technology and Akdeniz University in Turkey transformed a
modified Bacillus thuringiensis cry1Ac gene into tomato plants via
Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transformation.
Four transgenic lines expressing the Cry1Ac transgene were generated by the
team. Expression of the Cry1Ac protein in tomato resulted in T. absoluta
mortality rates ranging from 38-100%. Moreover, it was found that a single
copy of the gene in the hemizygous condition is sufficient to confer
tolerance to the leaf miner.
This study could provide the foundation for developing transgenic commercial
tomato cultivars resistant to leaf miner.