Influence of transgenic rice expressing a fused Cry1Ab/1Ac protein on frogs in paddy fields
As genetic engineering in plants is increasingly used to control agricultural pests, it is important to determine whether such transgenic plants adversely affect non-target organisms within and around cultivated fields. The cry1Ab/1Ac fusion gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has insecticidal activity and has been introduced into rice line Minghui 63 (MH63). We evaluated the effect of transgenic cry1Ab/1Ac rice (Huahui 1, HH1) on paddy frogs by comparing HH1 and MH63 rice paddies with and without pesticide treatment. The density of tadpoles in rice fields was surveyed at regular intervals, and Cry1Ab/1Ac protein levels were determined in tissues of tadpoles and froglets collected from the paddy fields. In addition, Rana nigromaculata froglets were raised in purse nets placed within these experimental plots. The survival, body weight, feeding habits, and histological characteristics of the digestive tract of these froglets were analyzed. We found that the tadpole density was significantly decreased immediately after pesticide application, and the weight of R. nigromaculata froglets of pesticide groups was significantly reduced compared with no pesticide treatment, but we found no differences between Bt and non-Bt rice groups. Moreover, no Cry1Ab/1Ac protein was detected in tissue samples collected from 192 tadpoles and froglets representing all four experimental groups. In addition, R. nigromaculata froglets raised in purse seines fed primarily on stem borer and non-target insects, and showed no obvious abnormality in the microstructure of their digestive tracts. Based on these results, we conclude that cultivation of transgenic cry1Ab/1Ac rice does not adversely affect paddy frogs.
KeywordsTransgenic rice Bt protein Frog Safety assessment Non-target effect
We thank Professor Yongjun Lin (Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China) for kindly providing transgenic rice seeds. We also thank Professor Fajun Chen (Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China) for his constructive comments on the early draft of this manuscript. This work was supported by the National GMO New Variety Breeding Program of the PRC (2012ZX08011-002 and 2014ZX08011-001).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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