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Create Weevil resistant cotton plants

INTA developed a transgenic plant, capable of reducing the damage caused by weevil in the cotton industry.

Crean plantas de algodón resistentes al Picudo

INTA, historically, has long experience in obtaining varieties. That is, a type of seed, or transgenic plant, that meets productive, quality and health characteristics. Throughout its history, it registered more than 25 varieties. Fabio Wyss, director of the experimental station Sáenz Peña, together with technicians Mauricio Tcach, Mónica Spoljaric and Nidia Tcah showed achievements.

The new jewel is now a transgenic cotton plant carrying the sequences designed to combat cotton weevil. It is the  pest  insect with the greatest impact on the crop. These plants will be the progenitors of the varieties, which will decrease their ability to damage. By incorporating genetic technology, it blocks the function of an essential gene of the insect when fed. This was explained by Mauricio Tcach, who is an agronomist and works in the Genetics area of the national body.

Having this technology allows us to address new challenges in the  cultivation  to solve health and quality problems that are friendly to the environment. This is the first time  INTA  has diversified its work by developing biotechnological and mutagenic events. This refers to an external gene that does not have it in the species and that, with the techniques of genetic transformation, can be done.

 The contribution of the provinces 

This great achievement was obtained thanks to the contribution of the cotton provinces of Chaco, Formosa, Santiago del Estero and Santa Fe. These fund the research of a transgenic plant after the signing of a Technology Linkage Agreement. This was done 9 years ago with the National Institute of Agricultural Technology. It is worth recalling the insistence of the Minister of Production of Chaco, Marcelo Repetto, on upholding the bond agreement. This is in the framework of the cotton tables that were being held in different provinces.

The signing of this agreement was due to the production losses caused by the presence of this  pest  insect in the country and, specifically in the cotton region, from a global perspective of the problem, addressing different approaches to its resolution.

The objective of the agreement was to acquire knowledge for the development of clean biological strategies for the control of cotton weevil.

 Genetic transformation 

One of the approaches addressed was the genetic transformation of cotton with a sequence of interference RNA designed by INTA. It specifically blocks the functionality of an essential gene in the weevil. The research work is carried out in part at the Sáenz Peña Agricultural Experimental Station. Also in the Institutes of Genetics “Ewald A. Favret”, Institute of Biotechnology and the Institute of Microbiology and Agricultural Zoology. Also counting on other research that is carried out in parallel within the agreement, to contribute to the solution of the problem.

 Encouraging results 

For the first time in Argentina, with the application of gene silencing, plants were obtained that will decrease the capacity of damage caused by the pest. INTA researchers conducted tests on cotton plants. The aim was to evaluate the blocking of genes considered essential for the survival of the pest.

“The progress of the plague in recent years would be put to an end,” Tcach said, noting that it is now in a phase of testing and development. The technical team of the INTA Sáenz Peña Agricultural Experimental Station managed to stabilize five cotton genetic lines. These have high agronomic performance. They are carriers of first generation events for resistance to caterpillar lepidoptera and glyphosate.

They are evaluated in other INTA experimental stations, subjecting them to different soil conditions and resource supply. The final process allows to complete the registration files and evaluate the plasticity and adaptability of the materials in the cotton region.

The results are encouraging. It was possible to combine characteristics such as resistance to blue disease, bacteriosis, high giming and fiber quality. All with pest resistance and herbicide events. The five lines have different cycles which will make it possible to better cover the planting date of the crop. This research is carried out jointly by the Sáenz Peña Agricultural Experimental Station and the Institute of Genetics of INTA. This is what regional director Chaco Formosa said.

Source:  JournalN orte


Publication Date: 14/02/2020

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