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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY-BASED MANAGEMENT OF INSECT PESTS OF CORN, WITH EMPHASIS ON CORN BORERS, ROOTWORMS, AND CUTWORMS

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Title: Regulatory considerations surrounding the deployment of Bt-expressing cowpea in Africa: Report of the deliberations of an expert panel

Authors
item Huesing, Joseph -
item Romeis, Jorg -
item Ellstrand, Norman -
item Raybould, Alan -
item Hellmich, Richard
item Wolt, Jeff -
item Ehlers, Jeff -
item Dabire, Clementine -
item Fatokun, Christian -
item Hokanson, Karen -
item Ishiyaku, Mohammad -
item Margam, Venu -
item Matole, Mpumi -
item Mignouna, Jacob -
item Nangayo, Francis -
item Ouedraogo, Jeremy -
item Pasquet, Remy -
item Pittendrigh, Barry -
item Schaal, Barbara -
item Stein, Jeff -
item Tamo, Manu -
item Murdock, Larry -

Submitted to: GM Crops
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 7, 2011
Publication Date: January 25, 2012
Citation: Huesing, J., Romeis, J., Ellstrand, N., Raybould, A., Hellmich II, R.L., Wolt, J., Ehlers, J., Dabire, C., Fatokun, C., Hokanson, K., Ishiyaku, M.F., Margam, V., Matole, M., Mignouna, J., Nangayo, F., Ouedraogo, J., Pasquet, R., Pittendrigh, B., Schaal, B., Stein, J., Tamo, M., Murdock, L. 2012. Regulatory considerations surrounding the deployment of Bt-expressing cowpea in Africa: Report of the deliberations of an expert panel. GM Crops. 2(3):211-224.

Interpretive Summary: Cowpea is adapted to the drier agro-ecological zones of West Africa where it is a major source of dietary protein and widely used as a fodder crop. Improving the productivity of cowpea can enhance food availability and security in West Africa. Insect predation - predominately from the legume pod borer (moth pest), flower thrips, and a complex of pod-sucking bugs is a major yield-limiting factor in West African cowpea production. Dramatic increases in yield are shown when the legume pod borer is controlled with insecticides. However, availability, costs, and safety considerations limit pesticides as a viable option for boosting cowpea production. Development of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cowpea through genetic modification (GM) to control the legume pod borer is a promising approach to cowpea improvement. Bt-cowpea is being developed for West Africa. Appropriate stewardship of Bt-cowpea to assure its sustainability under West African conditions is critical to its successful development. A first step in this process is an environmental risk assessment to determine the likelihood and magnitude of adverse effects of this GM crop on key environmental protection goals in West Africa. Here we describe the results of an expert panel convened in 2009 to develop the problem formulation phase for Bt-cowpea and to address specific issues around gene flow, non-target arthropods, and insect resistance management. This information is useful to all scientists and regulators interested in developing GM crops for use in Africa.

Technical Abstract: Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata spp. unguiculata) is adapted to the drier agro-ecological zones of West Africa where it is a major source of dietary protein and widely used as a fodder crop. Improving the productivity of cowpea can enhance food availability and security in West Africa. Insect predation - predominately from the legume pod borer (Maruca vitrata), flower thrips (Megalurothrips sjostedti), and a complex of pod-sucking bugs (e.g., Clavigralla spp.) - is a major yield-limiting factor in West African cowpea production. Dramatic increases in yield are shown when M. vitrata is controlled with insecticides. However, availability, costs, and safety considerations limit pesticides as a viable option for boosting cowpea production. Development of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-cowpea through genetic modification (GM) to control the legume pod borer is a promising approach to cowpea improvement. Cowpea expressing the lepidopteran-active Cry1Ab protein from Bacillus thuringiensis is being developed as a first generation Bt-cowpea crop for West Africa. Appropriate stewardship of Bt-cowpea to assure its sustainability under West African conditions is critical to its successful development. A first step in this process is an environmental risk assessment to determine the likelihood and magnitude of adverse effects of the Cry1Ab protein on key environmental protection goals in West Africa. Here we describe the results of an expert panel convened in 2009 to develop the problem formulation phase for Bt-cowpea and to address specific issues around gene flow, non-target arthropods, and insect resistance management.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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