Genetic engineering of tobacco plants so that they produce moth pheromones demonstrates the potential of genetically modified plants to act as factories for the synthesis of insect pheromones, write the authors of a Nature Communications paper.
Pheromones are widely used as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional pesticides for trapping insects and the new work presents an opportunity for the cost-effective production of an environmentally safe alternative to insecticides. The demographic most likely to ban GMOs and tobacco aren't going to be happy, but they aren't happy with most science. Maybe if the work were done with marijuana it would be more acceptable.
The plant-derived compounds described in the paper are very similar to commercially synthesiaed pheromones, and as effective at trapping moths.
Tobacco leaf optimized with Agrobacterium cultures that harbor gene constructs containing genes coding for moth pheromone biosynthesis. Credit: Erling Jirle, Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden
Synthetic pheromones are produced in large amounts and this commercial process not only requires the use of hazardous chemicals, but can also generate dangerous waste by-products.
Christer Löfstedt and colleagues pursued an alternate approach and isolated four key genes involved in pheromone production and express these genes in tobacco plants. They found that the resulting fatty alcohol-based products closely mimic the natural sex pheromones produced by two moths:Yponomeuta evonymella and Yponomeuta padella.
The authors further show that the plant-derived pheromones, which can be produced in large quantities, match the efficacy of commercially produced pheromones for trapping moths in a field experiment. That means genetically modified plants can not only directly impact pesticide use, by making themselves more resistant to pests, but also in second order fashion by helping to create insect pheromones to research environmentally safe alternatives to insecticides.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Nobel Prize Validates Chinese Medicine? Nope.
- Horse-Like Fetus From 48 Million Years Ago Discovered
- An Easy Problem
- Mother Jones Hates Scientists - And Their Bias Shows
- Wet Paleoclimate Of Mars Revealed By Ancient Lakes At Gale Crater
- Thank You Guido
- What Do EU Countries Give Up When They Opt-out Of GMO Crops? And For Whom?
- "Dear Mr. Campbell: Again you spin and dissemble. It was quite clear from the many tweets between..."
- "One of us does not know what libel means (hint: It is you). Calling me a felon and a fraud is libel..."
- "Dear Mr. Campbell: Your entry remains libelous, and I ask that you correct it. Regarding the tweets..."
- "Not to worry. This happens all the time. It is difficult to pick the right person to respond to..."
- "I'm arrogant? Oh, my sides!So, you think that because there are a whole bunch of diseases that..."
- FDA-Approved Test for Meningitis is a Home Run
- Trends In Smoking – Chinese Men In Peril, American Women Get Better Cessation
- Counter-Point: Activists Operate By Outrage, Not Fear
- Whole Foods Recalls Organic Roquefort Cheeses After Listeria Found
- Suicide Tries Linked to Weight-Loss Surgery? Study Doesn’t Show
- Following Rules, Refreezing Thawed Meat is Safe
- Beetles provide clues about the genetic foundations of parenthood
- Trees to power: McMaster engineers build better energy storage device
- High dose chemo & stem cell transplantation results in long-term survival for amyloid patients
- 'Blind analysis' could reduce bias in social sciences papers
- Adoption of streamlined breast cancer treatment has stagnated, study finds