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Plague-Resistant Tomatoes Developed through Genetic Engineering
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: February 10, 2018 06:30AM

A study conducted by researchers at the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology
Institute (IBMCP), a joint venture of the Universitat Polit?cnica de
Val?ncia and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), reveals how
genetically modified tomato plants have increased resistance towards Tuta
absoluta insect plagues.

An estimated 40% of the worldwide annual crop production is lost to plagues
and pathogens, and 13% to insects. Luis Ca?as, researcher of the CSIC at the
IBMCP, explains that "the miner insect Tuta absoluta has become one of the
main plagues that threaten tomato plantations across the world, and without
the appropriate management it can cause losses of between 80% and 100% of
their production."

The researchers turned to genetic engineering to strengthen the tomato plant
by giving it defensive genes such as the protease inhibitors in barley. A
serine proteinase inhibitor (BTI-CMe) and a cysteine proteinase inhibitor
(Hv-CPI2) were investigated, isolated from the barley plant, on the Tuta
absoluta insect. Both inhibitors were tested separately, as well as together
in transgenic tomato plants. The Tuta absoluta larvae which were fed the
double transgenic plants showed noticeable weight loss, and only 56% of the
larvae reached their adult stage. Those that reached their adult phase had
wing deformities and fertility reduction.


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