Plant Industry e-newsletter issue 14, winter 2006
More than 200 million people in
this region use cowpeas as a major source of protein.
serious pest that plagues cowpeas is the legume pod borer that
often reduces yield by more than 80 percent.
Useful levels of pest
resistance have not been found in the extensive collections of
cowpeas and related species, but gene technology may be able to
Dr TJ Higgins (photo) and his
CSIRO Plant Industry Canberra-based team are international
experts in genetically modifying legumes. They have developed a
system to introduce new genes into cowpeas so that genes for
‘built-in' protection can be incorporated.
The team is now looking to
incorporate Bt genes, the same class of genes that protect GM
cotton from Helicoverpa caterpillars, to provide protection
against pod-borers in cowpeas.
is supported by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation
and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation.
in PDF format: