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Tritrophic interactions between transgenic potato expressing snowdrop lectin (GNA), an aphid pest (peach-potato aphid; Myzus persicae (Sulz.) and a beneficial predator (2-spot ladybird; Adalia bipunctata L.)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rachel Down, Stephen Woodhouse, Gillian Davison, Professor Angharad MR GatehouseORCiD


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Tritrophic interactions between transgenic potato expressing the insecticidal lectin from snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin; GNA), an aphid pest, Myzus persicae (Sulz.), and a beneficial predator, the 2-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata L.) were investigated. Clonal plants expressing GNA at 0.1-0.2% total soluble protein in leaves were used. No significant effects on development and survival of ladybird larvae fed on aphids from these transgenic plants were observed, with larval survival in the experimental group being 90% compared to 89% for controls. There were also no effects on subsequent female or male longevity. Female fecundity was also investigated. Although no significant differences (p > 0.05) were observed in egg production between control and experimental groups, a 10%, reduction (p < 0.01) in egg viability (determined by % hatch) occurred in ladybirds fed aphids reared on transgenic plants. Additional studies were carried out using aphids fed on artificial diet containing GNA, to deliver quantified levels of the protein to ladybird adults. GNA had no deleterious effects upon adult longevity, but resulted in a consistent trend for improved fecundity. Egg production was increased by up to 70% and egg viability also increased significantly. The results suggest that GNA is not deleterious to ladybirds. Results from these studies highlight the need to discriminate between direct and indirect effects when studying tritrophic interactions between plants/pests/natural enemies. Furthermore, it emphasises the importance of demonstrating 'cause and effect'.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Down RE, Ford L, Woodhouse SD, Davison GM, Majerus MEN, Gatehouse JA, Gatehouse AMR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Transgenic Research

Year: 2003

Volume: 12

Issue: 2

Pages: 229-241

Print publication date: 01/04/2003

ISSN (print): 0962-8819

ISSN (electronic): 1573-9368

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1023/A:1022904805028

PubMed id: 12739890


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