Transgenic potato, Solanum tuberosum L., plants containing a synthetic cry1Ac gene coding for the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crystalline insecticidal protein were produced and evaluated for resistance to Tecia solanivora Povolny (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), the larvae of which attack potato tubers. In total, 43 transgenic lines of commercial Andean potato varieties Diacol Capiro, Pardo Pastusa, and Pandeazúcar were obtained. These transgenic lines were found to have one to four copies of cry1Ac per genome and expression levels of Cry1Ac protein varying from 0.02 to 17 μg/g fresh tuber tissue. Bioassays of T. solanivora larvae on these transgenic potato tubers showed 83.7–100% mortality, whereas the mortality levels on nontransgenic lines were 0–2.67%. Our data indicate the capability of Bt transgenic technology to control the T. solanivora while reducing the use of chemical insecticides. Further studies under controlled field conditions will be helpful in exploring the potential of Cry1Ac potatoes in the insect pest management strategies.
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Vol. 100 • No. 1