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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF MAIZE AND PEARL MILLET FOR RESISTANCE TO INSECTS AND AFLATOXIN

Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research

Title: Metamorphosis of cisgenic insect resistance research in the transgenic crop era

Authors
item Ni, Xinzhi
item Li, Xianchun -
item Chen, Yigen -
item Guo, Fuzhen -
item Feng, Jinian -
item Zhao, Huiyan -

Submitted to: Recent Advances in Entomological Research
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 22, 2009
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Citation: Ni, X., Li, X., Chen, Y., Guo, F., Feng, J., Zhao, H. 2010. Metamorphosis of cisgenic insect resistance research in the transgenic crop era. In: Liu, T.-X. and Kang, L., editors. Recent Advances in Entomological Research: From Biology to Pest Management. Beijing, China:Higher Education Press. p. 157-169.

Interpretive Summary: The introduction of the insect toxin-producing genes of a bacterium into corn and cotton has forever changed multiple disciplines of agricultural research, e.g., crop breeding, and crop protection. This review discusses the research opportunities and challenges in the field of host plant resistance to insect pests by comparing historical achievements of crop and human protection using contrasting research approaches. Crop protection, in particular, insect-resistant crop cultivar development has successfully protected the crop yield and quality worldwide for centuries by mainly utilizing applied research approach, while human protection (or medical research) utilized basic research approach to understand the etiological causes before designing effective treatment and/or preventative measures. The review also highlights three research frontiers to effectively integrate basic and applied research approaches, and to synergistically utilize both native insect-resistant traits in crop plants and introduced foreign insecticidal traits from bacterium or other unrelated organisms.

Technical Abstract: The biotechnological revolution has forever changed agricultural research and crop production worldwide. Commercial agriculture now includes plants that produce enhanced yield and quality, survival in hostile environmental conditions, manufacture and express defensive toxins, and yield grains with greatly enhanced nutrient fortification. Unprecedented opportunities and ethical challenges created by this new technology are transforming the field of plant protection may be compared with the dramatic changes of an insect undergoes during metamorphosis. In particular, the technology has brought enormous exciting opportunities as well as great challenges that are transforming the research fields of innate (or cisgenic) insect resistance and insect-host plant interactions. Here, we provide a review of the historic milestones in both cisgenic (insertion of genes from sexually compatible stock) and transgenic (insertion of genes from sexually incompatible stock) crop production in agriculture. Biological significance of transgenic technology and the critical role of basic research in crop and human protection are discussed. In addition, three research frontiers that utilize basic and applied research approaches and synergistically combine cisgenes with transgenic technology for broad crop protection (including both yield and quality improvements) are also discussed.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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