Potential of Transgenic Grain Legumes for Pest Management and Sustainable Crop Production uri icon


  • Host-plant resistance to insects, in general, is controlled by quantitative traits, and as aresult, the progress in developing high-yielding insect-resistant cultivars has been quiteslow. With the advent of recombinant DNA technology, it has become possible to cloneand insert genes into crop plants to confer resistance to insect pests. Insecticidal genes fromthe bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which are mainly effective against thelepidopteran insects, have been inserted into several grain legumes such as - chickpea,pigeonpea, cowpea, soybean, groundnut, faba bean, lentil, field pea, greengram, andblackgram. However, there is a need to discover and deploy genes that are effective againstthe hemipterans and dipterans that are important pests of grain legumes. Although insect-resistant transgenic plants have been developed in several grain legumes, these have notbeen deployed for pest management because of the concerns raised about food safety andtheir possible effects on the non-target organisms. To ensure a sustainable deployment oftransgenic insect-resistant grain legumes, it is important that they are compatible with othercontrol methods, including the biological control agents that are important for naturalregulation of pest populations. Toxin genes from Bt and non-Bt proteins are considered tobe environmentally benign and their use will reduce the hazards associated with the use ofsynthetic insecticides. However, it is important to follow the bio-safety regulations, andassure the general public about the biosafety of food derived from transgenic grain legumes,and their biosafety to the non-target organisms in the environment for sustainable cropproduction

publication date

  • 2010