ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

12 March 2003


Could Bt transgenic crops have nutritionally favourable effects on insects?
For further information, please contact:
Emily Davis
Blackwell Publishing Ltd

12 March 2003

Researchers from Imperial College, England have just shown in a forthcoming  article in the journal Ecology Letters, that insect larvae can use an engineered toxin (Cry1Ac) as a supplementary food source.

They found that toxin-resistant larvae of the Diamondback Moth developed  faster and had a greater pupal weight in the presence of the toxin. This  could be a genetic effect, linked indirectly to the presence of a resistance allele but more simply, could be due to resistant insects  enhancing their ability to survive and digest the toxin.

The present results are of particular interest because of the widespread  use of crops expressing the toxin. These crops could, therefore, have  unforeseen nutritionally favourable effects, increasing the fitness of  resistant insect populations. Biochemical studies are required to confirm  such nutritional effects of Cry toxins on resistant insects.

Notes for editor

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Peer reviewed publication and references
Ecology Letters, Volume 6 Issue 3 - March 2003

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