The impact of snowdrop lectin (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin, GNA) expressed in transgenic sugarcane on life history parameters of Mexican rice borer [Eoreuma loftini (Dyar)] and sugarcane borer [Diatraea saccharalis (F.)] (both Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) was evaluated. In the laboratory, lyophilized sugarcane leaf sheath tissue was incorporated in a meridic diet resulting in a GNA concentration of 0.47% of total protein, and used for insect bioassays over two successive generations. Deleterious effects of GNA were not observed on survival, weight, and developmental periods of larvae and pupae, nor on adult fecundity and egg viability of D. saccharalis. Moreover, in the first generation, addition of transgenic sugarcane tissue to the diet enhanced larval growth in D. saccharalis resulting in higher larval and pupal weight compared with diet with nontransgenic sugarcane, but this effect was not observed in the second generation. In contrast, larval survival, percent adult emergence, and female fecundity of E. loftini were significantly reduced when fed transgenic sugarcane diet compared with nontransgenic sugarcane diet. In addition, a substantial reduction of female pupal weight of E. loftini was observed in the second generation. For both species, the only consistent effect of GNA in both generations was a reduction in adult female longevity. Life table parameters showed that GNA at the level found in the transgenic diet negatively affected development and reproduction of E. loftini, whereas it had a nil to positive effect on development and reproduction of D. saccharalis.
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Vol. 95 • No. 2