In the past 10 years, sequestration of Cry toxins and transfer to offspring has been indicated in three insect species in laboratory studies. This work directly demonstrates the sequestration and intergenerational transfer of Cry1F by the parents of the aphidophagous coccinellid predator, Harmonia axyridis, to its offspring. Recently emerged adults (10 individual couples/ cage/treatment) were exposed during 20 days to aphids (100 Myzus persicae each day) that fed on a holidic diet containing 20g/mL Cry1F (and a control-group). Egg batches and neonate larvae were monitored daily, and counted and weighed for immunodetection of Cry1F by ELISA. At the end of the bioassay, the parents were weighed and analyzed by ELISA. Cry1F was detected in the offspring, both eggs and neonate larvae, of exposed H. axyridis adults. On average the neonate larvae had 60% of the Cry1F concentration of the eggs from the same egg batch. The Cry1F concentration in the adults was positively correlated with the concentration in their eggs. These three results provided independent evidence of transfer to offspring. No detrimental effects of Cry1F were observed on the age of first reproduction, total number of eggs laid per female, age-specific fecundity, egg development time, hatching rate, or fertility rate. The occurrence and generality of intergenerational transfer of Cry toxins should be investigated in the field to determine its potential ecological implications.
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