Transgenes are revolutionizing crop production
Author AffiliationsG. Bruening is Professor, Plant Pathology and Biochemist, Experiment Station Department of Plant Pathology and National Science Foundation Center for Engineering Plants for Resistance against Pathogens (CEPRAP), UC Davis. The author is grateful to Larry E. Williams, Theodore Dejong, Paul Gepts, R. Michael Davis, Belinda Martineau, Kent Bradford, Valerie Williamson, Jim Lyons and anonymous reviewers for information and/or discussions, and to Peggy Lemaux for providing illustrations.
Hilgardia 54(4):36-46. DOI:10.3733/ca.v054n04p36. July 2000.
The ability to cut and join DNA to create a new molecule and to insert into the crop plant the new DNA molecule as a new gene, a “transgene,” forms the basis of the most revolutionary crop improvement technology of the 20th century. The bulk of crop transgenes thus far commercialized were designed to aid in crop protection against insects and weeds. The first commercial introduction of transgenes into field crops occurred in 1996. By 2000 in the United States, transgenic soybean and cotton accounted for more than half the area planted to these crops. Cotton accounts for virtually all current transgenic crop planting in California. This article compares transgene-based and conventional pest and weed control for potential in improving food production, food safety and environmental quality. The capabilities of recently developed technologies suggest that the first decades of the 21st century will see additional, and more dramatic, improvements in agronomic traits through use of transgenes, new chemical control methods, and enhanced integration of new technologies into various farming systems.
Ballenger N, Bohman M, Gehlhar M. Biotechnology: Implications for U.S. corn and soybean trade. Agricultural Outlook, USDA Economic Research Service 2000. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/erssor/economics/ao-bb/2000/ao270.asc
Beegle CC, Yamamoto T. History of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner research and development. Canadian Entomol. 1992. 124:587-616.
Davis RM, Screnson EJ, Nunez J. The Importance of Pesticides and Other Pest Management Practices in US Carrot Production. USDA National Agricultural Pesticide Impact Assessment Program 1999. Washington, DC.: 93.
Estruch JJ, Carozzi NB, Desai N, et al. Transgenic plants: An emerging approach to pest control. Nature Biotech. 1997. 15:137-41. https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0297-137
Falck-Zepeda JB, Traxler G, Nelson RG. Surplus distribution from the introduction of a biotechnology innovation. Am J Agric Econ. 2000. 82:360-9. https://doi.org/10.1111/0002-9092.00031
Fedak G. Molecular aids for integration of alien chromatin through wide crosses. Genome. 1999. 42:584-91. https://doi.org/10.1139/gen-42-4-584
Fernandez-Cornejo J, McBride WD. Genetically engineered crops for pest management in U.S. agriculture: Farm level effects. 2000. Washington DC USDA Economic Research Service Agricultural Economics Report No. 786.
Frutos R, Rang C, Royer M. Managing insect resistance to plants producing Bacillus thuringiensis toxins. Critical Reviews in Biotech. 1999. 19:227-76. https://doi.org/10.1080/0738-859991229251
Gebhardt SE, Cutrufelli R, Matthews RH. Composition of Foods: Fruits and Fruit Juices. 1982. USDA Human Nutrition Information Service, Consumer Nutrition Center, Washington, DC.
Gianessi LP, Anderson JE. Pesticide Use in U.S. Crop Production. 1995. National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, National Pesticide Use Database, Washington, DC. www.ecologic-ipm.com/ncfap_2.html
Gonsalves D. Control of papaya ringspot virus in papaya: A case study. Ann Rev of Phytopathology. 1998. 36:415-37. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.phyto.36.1.415
Grossman YL. The Carbon Economy of Reproductive and Vegetative Growth of a Woody Perennial, Peach (Prunus persica [L.] Batsch): Growth Potentials, Respiratory Demand and a Simulation Model. 1993. Ph.D. thesis. Botany. UC Davis.
Han S., Wittwer S. Miracles of rice. Feeding a Billion: Frontiers in Chinese Agriculture. 1987. East Lansing, Ml: Michigan State University Press. p. 139-55.
Haytowitz DB, Matthews RH. Composition of foods: Vegetables and vegetable products: Raw, processed, prepared. USDA, Nutrition Marketing Division, Human Nutrition Information Service, Washington, DC 1984.
Hyde J, Martin MA, Preckel PV, Edwards CR. The economics of Bt corn: Adoption implications. Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, ID-219 1998. West Lafayette, IN:
lannacone R, Grieco PD, Cellini F. Specific sequence modifications of a cry3B endotoxin gene result in high levels of expression and insect resistance. Plant Molecular Biology. 1997. 34:485-96. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005876323398
James C. Global review of commercialized transgenic crops: 1998. Ithaca, NY: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications Publication No. 8 1999.
Kasuga M, Liu Q, Miura S, et al. improving plant drought, salt, and freezing tolerance by gene transfer of a single stress-inducible transcription factor. Nature Biotech. 1999. 17:287-91. https://doi.org/10.1038/7036
Kumagai MH, Turpen TH, Weinzettl N, et al. Rapid high-level expression of biologically active alpha trichosanthin in transfected plants by an RNA viral vector. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 1993. 90:427-30. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.90.2.427
Lucas JA. Plant immunization: From myth to SAR. Pesticide Science. 1999. 55:193-6. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1096-9063(199902)55:2/193::AID-PS883/3.0.CO;2-5
Munkvcld GP, Hellmich RL, Rice LG. Comparison of tumonisin concentrations in kernels of transgenic Bt maize hybrids and nontransgenic hybrids. Plant Disease. 1999. 83:130-8. https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS.19188.8.131.52
Pease WS, Liebman J, Landy D, Albright D. Pesticide Use in California: Strategies for Reducing Environmental Health Impacts. California Policy Seminar Research Report (CPS Report) UC Berkeley 1996. 116.
Pimentel DS, Raven PS. Bt corn pollen impacts on nontarget lepidoptera: Assessment of effects in nature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2000. 97:9.
Powell-Abel PA, Nelson RS, De B, et al. Delay of disease development in transgenic plants that express the tobacco mosaic virus coat protein gene. Science. 1986. 232:738-43. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.3457472
Robson PRH, McCormac AC, Irvine AS, Smith H. Genetic engineering of harvest index in tobacco through overexpression of a phytochrome gene. Nature Biotech. 1996. 14:995-8. https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0896-995
Roush RT. Bt-transgenic crops: Just another pretty insecticide or a chance for a new start in resistance management?. Pesticide Science. 1997. 51:328-34. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1096-9063(199711)51:3/328::AID-PS650/3.0.CO;2-B
Rubio T, Borja M, Scholthof HB, Jackson AO. Recombination with host transgenes and effects on virus evolution. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 1999. 12:87-92. https://doi.org/10.1094/MPMI.19184.108.40.206
Sidhu RS, Hammond BG, Fuchs RL, et al. Glyphosate-tolerant corn: The composition and feeding value of grain from glyphosate-tolerant corn is equivalent to that of conventional corn (Zea mays L.). J Ag and Food Chem. 2000. 48:2305-12. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf000172f
Sinclair TR. Historical changes in harvest index and crop nitrogen accumulation. Crop Science. 1998. 38:638-43.
Tabashnik BE, Patin AL, Dennehy TJ, et al. Dispersal of pink bollworm (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) males in transgenic cotton that produces a Bacillus thuringiensis toxin. Journal of Economic Entomology. 1999. 92:772-80.
Tien P, Wu G. Satellite RNA for the biocontrol of plant disease. Advances in Virus Research. 1991. 39:321-40. PubMed PMID: 1710090
Traxler G, Falck-Zepeda J. The distribution of benefits from the introduction of transgenic cotton varieties. AgBioForum. 1999. 2:94-8.
Tsaftaris A. The development of herbicide-tolerant transgenic crops. Field Crops Research. 1996. 45:115-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-4290(95)00064-X
US Department of Agriculture. National Agricultural Statistics Service, Washington, DC. 2000. Farmer reported genetically modified varieties www.usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/nassr/field/pcpbba/acrg0600
van Harten AM. Mutation Breeding: Theory and Practical Applications.. 1998. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 353.
Vargas R, Wright S. Transgenic herbicide-tolerant cotton. California Cotton Review. 1998. 47:1-3.
Williams LE, Zamski E, Schaffer A. Whole plant source-sink relationships of selected crops: Grape. Photoassimilate Distribution in Plants and crops.. 1996. NY: Marcel Dekker. p. 851-81.
Wraight CL, Azngerl AR, Carroll MJ, Berenbaum MR. Absence of toxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis pollen to black swallowtails under field conditions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2000. 97:7700-3. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.130202097
Yie Y, Wu ZX, Wang SY, et al. Rapid production and field testing of homozygous transgenic tobacco lines with virus resistance conferred by expression of satellite RNA and coat protein of cucumber mosaic virus. Transgenic Research. 1995. 4:256-63. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01969119
Also in this issue:On-farm management of agricultural drainage water: An economic analysis
New technologies are changing the face of agriculture
The case of the FLAVR SAVR tomato
Q&A: Developing nations key to solving global food, resource problems
Sidebar: News from the UC plant genomics frontier
Organics profit from premiums
Scientists study farm over century
Controversy over agricultural biotechnology continues
Structural adjustment, resources, global economy to challenge California agriculture
Perspective: Is this California agriculture's last century?
Growth predicted in biologically integrated and organic farming
Perspective: How natural is modern agriculture?
Genetic engineering to improve quality, productivity and value of crops
Genetic engineering and cloning may improve milk, livestock production
Advanced information systems to improve livestock management
Precision agriculture can increase profits and limit environmental impacts
Commercialization of university research brings benefits, raises issues and concerns