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Bt rice expressing Cry1Ab does not stimulate an outbreak of its non-target herbivore, Nilaparvata lugens


In this study, the non-target effects of Bt rice “KMD2” expressing a Cry1Ab protein on the performance of the brown planthopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens, over multiple generations were evaluated under laboratory and field conditions. In the laboratory, BPH was reared to observe the impact of the Bt rice as compared to its parental non-Bt cultivar Xiushui 11, while the population dynamics and oviposition performance of BPH were investigated in the field. The survival of BPH nymphs fed Bt and non-Bt rice did not differ significantly. The nymph developmental duration of BPH was significantly delayed by the Bt rice by comparison with the non-Bt rice for the 1st and 2nd but not the 4th generation. Most importantly, the fecundity of BPH on the Bt rice was significantly decreased in every generation when compared with the non-Bt rice. In the field investigations, the population density of BPH nymphs was significantly lower in the Bt rice field. However, the temporal pattern of population dynamics of BPH adults was similar between the Bt and non-Bt rice, presumably due to migratory interference of the adults. In the Bt rice field, the percentage of tillers with eggs and the number of eggs per tiller were also significantly lower from tillering to mature stage. Additionally, Cry1Ab protein could not be detected in guts from single BPH adults. In general, our results suggest that the Bt rice “KMD2” could not stimulate an outbreak of BPH.

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We greatly thank Prof. I. Altosaar (University of Ottawa, Canada) for providing a synthetic cry1Ab gene for developing the Bt rice line “KMD2”. We greatly appreciated Dr. J. Romeis (Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, Switzerland) for critically revising the manuscript and for valuable comments. Financial support from the National Program on Key Basic Research Projects (973 Program, 2007CB109202), the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30671377), as well as the Special Research Projects for Developing Transgenic Plants (2008ZX08011-01), are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Gong-Yin Ye.

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Chen, Y., Tian, J., Wang, W. et al. Bt rice expressing Cry1Ab does not stimulate an outbreak of its non-target herbivore, Nilaparvata lugens . Transgenic Res 21, 279–291 (2012).

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  • Bt rice
  • Cry1Ab protein
  • Nilaparvata lugens
  • Safety assessment
  • Non-target effect