Genetic transformation is a promising tool for restoration of American elm (Ulmus americana L.) and American chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marshall) Borkhausen), both decimated by exotic fungal pathogens. Before widespread dissemination, it is imperative that potential unintended consequences be examined for ecologically dependent organisms. My study quantified effects on insect herbivores, a critical component of forested ecosystems. Transgenic elms expressing antimicrobial peptides were assessed using surveys of leaf herbivory and bioassays with two lepidopterans. Transformed chestnuts expressing an oxalate oxidase gene were assayed using three insect herbivores. Transgenic elms had little effect on phytophagous insects, whereas gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar L., grew faster on transgenic than on wild-type chestnuts, illustrating a potential issue as this invasive outbreak species is now found throughout the former range of American chestnut. Recommendations about the widespread use of each transgenic line were based on these results and companion pathogen resistance tests.
Keywords. Genetic modification, American elm, American chestnut, biosafety, forest restoration, fungal resistance, Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight.
|Commitee:||Fierke, Melissa K., Powell, William A.|
|School:||State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry|
|Department:||Environmental & Forest Biology|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 47/05M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Organismal biology, Forestry, Plant sciences|
|Keywords:||American chestnut, American elm, Biosafety, Forest restoration, Fungal resistance, Genetic modification|
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