A secondary effect of transformation in Rhizobium leguminosarum transgenic for Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies tenebrionisδ-endotoxin (cryIIIA) genes
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By introducing Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies tenebrionisδ-endotoxin genes (cryIIIA) into Rhizobium leguminosarum we have produced strains for the biological control of Sitona larvae. Comparisons between a transgenic and the parent strain show that transformation has induced changes not associated with the intended function of the transgene. Although growth rates in laboratory cultures are similar for both strains, the ability to compete for nodule occupancy is greater in the transgenic than in the non-transformed parent strain. This result demonstrates the importance of studying ecological and agronomic characters of transgenic micro-organisms that could have a bearing on the safety and success of their release into the environment, even if they are not thought to be connected with the transgenes introduced.
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