Molecular Breeding

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 65–73 | Cite as

Expression of the insecticidal lectin from snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin; GNA) in transgenic wheat plants: effects on predation by the grain aphid Sitobion avenae

  • Eva Stoger
  • Sarah Williams
  • Paul Christou
  • Rachel E. Down
  • John A. GatehouseEmail author


Transgenic wheat plants containing the gene encoding snowdrop lectin (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin; GNA) under the control of constitutive and phloem-specific promoters were generated through the particle bombardment method. Thirty-two independently derived plants were subjected to molecular and biochemical analyses. Transgene integration varied from one to twelve estimated copies per haploid genome, and levels of GNA expression from 0 to ca. 0.2% of total soluble protein were observed in different transgenic plants. Seven transgenic plants were selected for further study. Progeny plants from these parental transformants were selected for transgene expression, and tested for enhanced resistance to the grain aphid (Sitobion avenae) by exposing the plants to nymphal insects under glasshouse conditions. Bioassay results show that transgenic wheat plants from lines expressing GNA at levels greater than ca. 0.04% of total soluble protein decrease the fecundity, but not the survival, of grain aphids. We propose that transgenic approaches using insecticidal genes such as gna in combination with integrated pest management present promising opportunities for the control of damaging wheat pests.

insect resistance aphids GNA lectins transgenic plants wheat 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Stoger
    • 1
  • Sarah Williams
    • 1
  • Paul Christou
    • 1
  • Rachel E. Down
    • 2
  • John A. Gatehouse
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.John Innes CentreNorwich Research ParkColney Lane, NorwichUK
  2. 2.Crop Protection Group, Plant Molecular Biology Section, Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of DurhamSouth Road, DurhamUK (e-mail

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