Ann Bot. 2015 Mar; 115(4): 581–591. Aphid-repellent pheromone E-β-farnesene is generated in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana over-expressing farnesyl diphosphate synthase2. ANNALS OF BOTANY 20/12/14 Aphid-repellent pheromone E-b-farnesene is generated in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana over-expressing farnesyl diphosphate synthase2. SCIENCEMAG 25/06/15 Controversial trial of genetically modified wheat ends in disappointment. A genetically engineered wheat designed to scare away aphids has, in the end, just not proved scary enough.
Researchers had hoped that the wheat modified to emit a warning pheromone would ward off aphids while also attracting their natural enemies, thereby allowing farmers to spray less insecticide. Despite promising signs in the laboratory, the field trial—which made headlines in 2012 after opponents of genetic modification (GM) threatened to obstruct it—failed to show any effect. “It was disappointing news,” says Paul Temple, a wheat farmer with the U.K. NATURE INSTITUTE - JULY 2015 - Pheromone-Producing GM Wheat Does Not Repel Pests in Field Trials. Posted: July, 2015 Pheromone-Producing GM Wheat Does Not Repel Pests in Field Trials The pheromone (E)-β-farnesene is known to repel pest aphids from plants that they would otherwise feed on.
It also attracts natural enemies of aphids such as parasitic wasps. Wheat plants (Triticum aestivum) were genetically modified to produce and emit this pheromone. The genetic construct contained chemically synthesized gene sequences. SEPPI OVER BLOG 03/07/15 Le blé GM à phéromone est (provisoirement ?) un échec Une communication exemplaire des chercheurs de Rothamsted. NATURE 25/06/15 The first crop plant genetically engineered to release an insect pheromone for defence. Constructs and plant transformation.
Chemically synthesised gene sequences, codon-optimised for wheat encoding enzymes [(E)-β-farnesene synthase (EβfS) and farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPPS)], were produced by GenScript Inc. NJ, USA. The enzyme encoded by the EβfS cassette was similar to that found in peppermint (Mentha piperita) and the enzyme encoded by the FPPS cassette had most similarity to the form found in cow (Bos taurus). We chose this heterologous, synthetic gene to express FPP synthase to minimise the chances of co-suppressive silencing and to avoid any post-translational regulation by endogenous enzymes.
Four constructs encoding EβfS or FPPS either targeted to the plastid or untargeted were made (ubi1::EβfS, ubi1:: tp:EβfS, ubi1::FPPS, ubi1:: tp:FPPS (Fig. ROTHAMSTED_AC_UK 25/06/15 Scientists disappointed at results from GM wheat field trial. The results of the GM wheat field trial held by Rothamsted Research in 2012-2013 are published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports today.
The data show that the GM wheat did not repel aphid pests in the field as was hypothesised and was initially seen in laboratory experiments conducted by scientists at the Institute. Aphids are serious pests of wheat and other arable crops cultivated in the UK, transmitting viruses and reducing yield. ROTHAMSTED RESEARCH 25/06/15 Rothamsted GM Wheat Trial.
Is the trial safe?
Thorough risk assessments of this field trial were carried out by the Rothamsted GM Safety Committee and no major safety concern were raised. Following this, the Government's ACRE (the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment) said it was "satisfied that all appropriate measures have been taken to avoid adverse effects to human health and the environment from the proposed release" in September 2011, which received coverage through local and national news channels. ACRE is a statutory advisory committee appointed under section 124 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the EPA) to provide advice to government regarding the release and marketing of genetically modified organisms (www.defra.gov.uk/acre/).
As part of the ACRE process, there was a 60 day public consultation period 20th June to 19th Aug 2011, with input from organisations, e.g.