Insect Plant Interaction

Today we discussed on preparation of presentations for ISEB Conference. The introduction explained that White fly lives on sap of the plants. White fly can be seen not only Phyllanthus but also other plants such as tomato plant. Following is the picture of white fly on phyllanthus along with fungus.

We also discussed that horizontal gene transfer happens between plant to white fly. The gene BtPMaT1 which breaks a toxin, is present in plants to get resistant to the toxin which is released to kill pests. The same gene is also found in white fly and it is conserved between plant and white fly. Cubists are hypothesizing that this gene is transferred from plant to white fly by virus mediated agent. Virus incorporates the gene into its genome, the virus infects white fly and the BtPMaT1 gene is further incorporated into white fly, turning white fly resistant to plant toxin.

There is also vertical transfer of this gene from parent to offspring.
Following is the proposed mechanism of gene transfer with the help of virus.