Plutella xylostella is one of the most destructive pests in vegetables such as cabbage, cabbage, broccoli and rape, an insect that has shown resistance to many pesticides, causing damage that can make vegetables unsold. Cabbage is China’s most important vegetable crop, and the leeks pose a serious threat to it. Now, for the first time, genetically modified cauliflowers developed by biotech company Oxitec have been tested outdoors.
The genetically modified insect is implanted with a self-restricted gene and a marker gene. Genetically modified male leeks mate with females and pass on self-restricted genes to their offspring, leaving female larvae unable to survive.
The outdoor test study was published in the journal Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. The researchers claim the test was a success. To curb the spread of disease, scientists have previously released similar genetically modified mosquitoes in several places to limit mosquito populations.