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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2022, Vol. 21 Issue (10): 2818-2832    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.07.033
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Expression profiling of transgenes (Cry1Ac and Cry2A) in cotton genotypes under different genetic backgrounds

Kashif NOOR1, Hafiza Masooma Naseer CHEEMA1, Asif Ali KHAN2, Rao Sohail Ahmad KHAN3

1 Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan

2 Institute of Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, Multan 60000, Pakistan

3 Center of Agricultural Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan

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Transgenic cotton carrying the Cry1Ac gene has revolutionized insect pest control since its adoption, although the development of resistance in insect pests has reduced its efficacy.  After 10 years of cultivating Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton with a single Cry1Ac gene, growers are on the verge of adopting Bt cotton that carries the double gene (Cry1Ac+Cry2A) due to its better effectiveness against insect pests.  Thus, the current study was designed to evaluate the role of each gene in the effectiveness of Bt cotton carrying the double gene.  The expression levels of the Cry1Ac and Cry2A genes were evaluated in the leaves of 10 genotypes (2 parents and 8 F1 hybrids) at 30 days after sowing (DAS), while samples of leaves, bolls and flowers were taken from the upper and lower canopies at 70 and 110 DAS.  The F1 hybrids were developed through reciprocal crosses between two Bt (CKC-1, CKC-2) and two non-Bt (MNH-786, FH-942) parents.  The differential expression of transgenes was evaluated through Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay (ELISA).  The results showed that the MNH786×CKC-1 hybrid had the highest concentrations of Cry1Ac gene at 30 DAS (3.08 µg g–1) and 110 DAS (1.01 µg g–1) in leaves.  In contrast, the CKC-2×MNH-786 hybrid showed the lowest concentrations of Cry1Ac gene at 30 DAS (2.30 µg g–1) and 110 DAS (0.86 µg g–1).  The F1 hybrid FH-942×CKC-2 showed the highest concentrations of Cry2A gene at 30 DAS (8.39 µg g–1) and 110 DAS (7.74 µg g–1) in leaves, while the CKC-1×MNH-786 hybrid expressed the lowest concentrations of Cry2A gene at 30 DAS (7.10 µg g–1) and 110 DAS (8.31 µg g–1).  A comparison between the two stages of plant growth showed that leaves had the highest concentrations at 30 DAS, whereas the lowest concentrations were observed at 110 DAS for both genes in leaves.  When the expression pattern was compared between various plant parts in genotype CKC-2, it was found that leaves had higher concentrations of Cry1Ac (3.12 µg g–1) and Cry2A (8.31 µg g–1) at 70 DAS, followed by bolls (Cry1Ac (1.66 µg g–1) and Cry2A (8.15 µg g–1)) and flowers (Cry1Ac (1.07 µg g–1) and Cry2A (7.99 µg g–1)).  The genotype CKC-2 had higher concentrations of Cry1Ac (3.12 µg g–1) and Cry2A (8.31 µg g1) in the upper canopy but less accumulation (2.66 µg g–1 of Cry1Ac, 8.09 µg g–1 of Cry2A) in the lower canopy at 70 DAS.  Similarly, at 110 DAS, the expression levels of Cry1Ac and Cry2A in upper and lower canopy leaves were 1.52 and 7.92 µg g–1, and 0.99 and 7.54 µg g–1, respectively.  Hence, the current study demonstrates that different genotypes showed variable expression for both of the Cry1Ac and Cry2A genes during plant growth due to different genetic backgrounds.  The Cry2A gene had three-fold higher expression than Cry1Ac with significant differences in expression in different plant parts.  The findings of this study will be helpful for breeding insect-resistant double-gene genotypes with better gene expression levels of Cry1Ac and Cry2A for sustainable cotton production worldwide.

Keywords:  transgenic cotton breeding        transgene expression        double gene        insect resistance  
Received: 08 March 2021   Accepted: 08 July 2021
Fund: The authors are further thankful to Higher Education Commission, Pakistan for providing funds, Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology, Lahore and University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan for their resources, support and encouragement in this study.  
About author:  Kashif NOOR, E-mail:; Correspondence Hafiza Masooma Naseer CHEEMA, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

Kashif NOOR, Hafiza Masooma Naseer CHEEMA, Asif Ali KHAN, Rao Sohail Ahmad KHAN. 2022. Expression profiling of transgenes (Cry1Ac and Cry2A) in cotton genotypes under different genetic backgrounds. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 21(10): 2818-2832.

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