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Crop Science Abstract -

Expression and Segregation of Genes Encoding CryIA Insecticidal Proteins in Cotton


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 38 No. 1, p. 1-11
    Received: Apr 24, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): J-Benedict@TAMU.EDU
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  1. E. S. Sachs,
  2. J. H. Benedict ,
  3. D. M. Stelly,
  4. J. F. Taylor,
  5. D. W. Altman,
  6. S. A. Berberich and
  7. S. K. Davis
  1. Monsanto Company, 700 Chesterfield Parkway North, St. Louis, MO 63198
    Texas A&M Univ. Res. & Ext. Center, Route 2, Box 589, Corpus Christi, TX 78406
    Texas A&M Univ., Dep. of Soil and Crop Science, College Station, TX 77843
    Texas A&M Univ., Dep. of Animal Science, College Station, TX 77843
    ProfiGen, 800 Harrison St., Nashville, TN 37203



Epistatic and environmental effects on foreign gene expression in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) could influence the breeding, stability and, in the case of pest resistance, efficacy and durability of the foreign gene. This study was undertaken to characterize the expression an segregation of two foreign cryIA genes in a range of insect-resistant cotton lines derived in three backgrounds. The cryIA genes encoded insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis spp. kurstaki. The transformed cotton lines, MON 81 expressing the cryIA(b) gene and MON 249 expressing the cryIA(c) gene, were crossed to 14 cotton isolines with five different insect-resistance traits. CryIA gene expression and variation were examined in terminal leaves of 2293 F2 progeny and subsequently in 12 F2:4 lines [cryIA(b) only] in field experiments conducted at two locations in Texas. CryIA gene expression was variable and influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Site-of-gene-insertion and cotton-background effects were significa sources of variation for the cryIA gene. Significant epistatic and/or somadonal effects increased plant-to-plant variation and caused cryIA gene expression to behave as a quantitative trait. Environmental effects, between and within locations and over time, decreased parent-offspring correlations of mean cryIA gene expression between individuals from the F2 and F2:4 generations. Gene dosage at the cryIA locus influenced insecticidal protein concentration in F2 populations with the cryIA (b) gene insert—homozygotes produced 14% more CryIA(b) protein than hemizygotes. The CryIA phenotype segregated as a simple, dominant Mendelian trait. However, non-Mendelian segregation occurred in some lines derived from MON 249. Expression of cryIA genes in cotton lines was influenced by one or more of the following: site of gene insertion, gene construct, background genotype, epistasis, somaclonal mutations, and the physical environment. These results indicate that appropriate evaluation and selection procedures should be used in a breeding program to develop new cotton lines with pest-resistant traits conferred by foreign genes. Moreover, that a practical backcross breeding program could be used to develop cotton cultivars combining one or more pestresistant traits from foreign and native gene sources.

Part of a dissertation submitted by the senior author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Ph.D. degree at Texas A&M Univ.

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