UK-China Collaboration for production of biologically active homoisoprenoids and their eventual use for pest control

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Directorate


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.


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Birkett MA (2014) Prospects of genetic engineering for robust insect resistance. in Current opinion in plant biology

Description The transcriptome of cotton was analysed before and after infestation with cotton bollworm, identifying several upregulated genes. Analysis of the headspace of these infested plants identified several terpene compounds. Two of the upregulated genes were heterologously expressed and their function analysed. It was determined that these two genes are responsible for production of two of the major terpenes detected in the head space. Further behavioural studies demonstrated the attractiveness of these two terpenes to female wasps, natural enemies of the cotton bollworm.
The transcriptome of wheat infested with aphids was determined and several genes were shown to be upregulated. Two of these identified genes were shown to be involved in sesquiterpene biosynthesis and transformed into Arabidopsis. The subsequent transgenic Arabidopsis plants was repellent to peach aphids. This work demonstrates potentially useful tools for the defence of wheat crops from aphid pests. Future work will aim to extend this work to rice.
Exploitation Route This work could represent development of a new type of GM crop resistant to pests.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink