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pest-resistant - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore


What’s in news?

A pest-resistant variety of cotton has been developed is going to start field trials.

Key data’s:

  • Developed by: The pest-resistant variety of cotton has been developed by National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI).
  • Need: One of the top ten devastating pests in the world called Whiteflies, damages more than 2000 plant species and also function as vectors for some 200-plant viruses. In 2015, two third of the cotton crop was destroyed by the pest in Punjab.
  • It not only damages cotton but many other crops too with this it transmits disease viruses too.
  • Field trial: The field trials will be starting this year from April to October in Faridkot Center of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.
  • BT-Cotton: A genetically modified cotton, available to the farmers in the market, which is resistant to only other two-pests – but not resistant against white flies.
  • To develop the pest-resistant variety researchers explored 250 plants from lower plant biodiversity to identify novel protein molecules that are toxic to whitefly.
  • Out of the 250 plants, the leaf extract of an edible fern Tectariamacrodonta causes toxicity to the whitefly.

How the fern is toxic?

  • When whiteflies feed on sub-lethal doses of insecticidal protein, it interferes with the life cycle of insect that in turn resulted with very poor egg laying, abnormal egg, nymph and larval development and extraordinary poor emergence of the fly. 
  • However, this protein was found to be un-effective on non-target insects.
  • The protein is specifically toxic to whitefly and does not cause any harmful effect on other beneficial insects like butterfly and honeybee.

Use of Tectariamacrodonta: Following are the uses of this fern;

  • Used as salad in Nepal
  • As a concoction for the gastric disorders in many regions of Asia
  • Goes in favour for the possibility of the insecticidal protein

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