A cysteine proteinase inhibitor expressed in potato plants provides the first demonstration that transgenic resistance to nematodes such as the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida can be effective under field conditions. The highest level of resistance obtained in the field for one of the four transformed lines of the normally fully susceptible Solanum tuberosum tuberosum cv. Désirée was 70±9%. The partially resistant cv. Sante that is currently of commercial use in the UK showed a resistance of 85±3%. In containment experiments a change in G. pallida population to one known to be virulent against cv. Sante caused a significant loss of its resistance from 80±4% to only 51±6%. In contrast, the resistance of transgenic Désirée was similar for challenge by the avirulent and virulent populations with values of 68±6% and 71±4%, respectively. Constitutive expression of the cystatin had no detrimental effect on either number or weight of tubers and the weight of the haulm for 3 of the 4 lines in the field. The results establish that transgenic field resistance against G. pallida can be achieved. Clearly food and environmental safety must be assured before commercialisation can be contemplated. However, a prima facie case can be made that the technology is benign and can reduce the use of environmentally hazardous nematicides.
Urwin, P.E.; Troth, K.M.; Zubko, E.I.; Atkinson, H.J. Effective transgenic resistance to Globodera pallida in potato field trials. Molecular Breeding (2001) 8 (1) 95-101. [DOI: 10.1023/A:1011942003994]