Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #172456


item Dowd, Patrick
item Johnson, Eric
item Pinkerton, Terrence

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2004
Publication Date: 12/2/2004
Citation: Dowd, P.F., Johnson, E.T., Pinkerton, T.S. 2004. Plant-derived genes for pest management [abstract]. First Annual Peoria NEXT All-Science Assembly. Paper No. 14. p. 35

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Insect and fungal pests cause great economic yield losses in corn and other crops, and also promote contamination by fungal toxins that are also carcinogens. These fungal toxins (mycotoxins) are regulated by FDA and comparable agencies in other countries. Economic losses due to mycotoxins approach 1 billion dollars annually in the U.S. alone. Bt corn, which produces a bacterial-derived insecticide, can greatly reduce insect damage by some insect species. When the highly affected insects occur at high levels and are the predominant pest, levels of the mycotoxin fumonisin have been over 10-fold lower compared to corresponding non-Bt hybrids. We are investigating plant-derived genes that have potential for broad spectrum insect control (and that may also have activity against fungi), either alone or in combination. Our earlier studies with tobacco anionic peroxidase indicated reduced insect damage by several insect species when engineered to over express in tobacco, and tomato and corn (U.S. Patent 6,002,068). Corn kernel ribosome inactivating protein also has activity against several insect species, and tobacco plants that produce this protein showed significantly greater resistance to caterpillars and beetles. More recently, we have shown that a chitinase-like gene obtained from Arabidopsis, when expressed in corn, causes significantly increased mortality to a caterpillar pest. We have also shown that some anthocyanin compounds that naturally occur in fruit, can more effectively reduce feeding by caterpillars than those forms that occur in corn silks. Evaluations of responsible gene products in plants that produce new anthocyanins is planned. We are also investigating plant-derived genes as sources for targeted DNA insertion and as selectable markers for transformed plants.