Genetically modified (GM) plants have potential benefits in modern agriculture such as increasing yields and decreasing the use of chemicals. However, GM plants may cause unintended consequences of gene flow to indigenous plants or microbes and the detrimental effects on non-target organisms such as soil microbial communities. To investigate these possible unintended effects of GM plants, we conducted a 3-year field study using the transgenic pepper line H-15 carrying the coat protein gene (CMVP0-CP) of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) pathotype CMVP0, which is resistant to two CMV pathotypes CMVP0 and CMVP1, to assess its effects on soil fungal populations and communities. This study was conducted in two different fields using the plate counting method on selective media as well as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses. In addition, we examined potential gene flow of CMVP0-CP from the transgenic line H-15 into the soil environment, including microflora, in the tested fields. We found little differences in the influence of the line H-15 compared with the inbred line P2377 (non-transgenic control) on the populations of fungal groups (total fungi, Aspergillus and Penicillium spp., Fusarium spp., and Trichoderma spp.), distribution of fungal genera, and fungal communities. Further, coat protein gene (CMVP0-CP) (PCR detection limit in soil = 1–10 pg) of the transgenic line was not detected in the soil samples of the tested fields. Taken together, the transgenic pepper line had no distinct impact on fungal populations and communities with no detection of CMVP0-CP gene flow from the transgenic line into the soil environment of the fields. Thus, the transgenic line H-15 might be little significantly harmful from the perspective of preserving soil fungal diversity; it could be a potential candidate for developing a commercial cultivar.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Rural Development of Administration (BioGreen 21 research fund), Republic of Korea. We thank Eun Gyeong Song for her technical help in this study and Mohamed Mannaa and Jin-Ju Jeong for their help in preparation of this manuscript.
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.
- Coat protein gene
- Cucumber mosaic virus
- Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
- Fungal community
- Gene flow
- Genetically modified pepper
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Soil Science