Bt-transgenics of elite indica rice breeding lines (IR-64, Pusa Basmati-1 and Karnal Local) were generated through biolistic of Agrobacterium-mediated approaches. A synthetic cry1Ac gene, codon optimised for rice and driven by the maize ubiquitin-1 promoter, was used. Over 200 putative transformants of IR-64 and Pusa Basmati-1 and 26 of the Karnal Local were regenerated following use of the hpt (hygromycin phosphotransferase) selection system. Initial transformation frequency was in the range of 1 to 2% for particle bombardment while it was comparatively higher ( 9%) for Agrobacterium. An improved selection procedure, involving longer selection on the antibiotic-supplemented medium, enhanced the frequency of Bt-transformants and reduced the number of escapes. Molecular evaluation revealed multiple transgene insertions in transformants, whether generated through biolistic or Agrobacterium. In the latter case, it was also observed that all genes on the T-DNA do not necessarily get transferred as an intact insert. Selected Bt-lines of IR-64 and Pusa Basmati-1, having Bt-titers of 0.1% (of total soluble protein) and above were evaluated for resistance against manual infestation of freshly hatched neonate larvae of yellow stem borers collected from a hot spot stem borer infested area in northern India. Several Bt-lines were identified showing 100% mortality of larvae, within 4-days of infestation, in cut-stem as well as vegetative stage whole plant assays. However, there was an occasional white head even among such plants when assayed at the reproductive stage. Results are discussed in the light of resistance management strategies for deployment of Bt-rice
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