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BT corn has a higher lignin content than non-BT corn

Saxena, D., Stotzky, G.
American journal of botany 2001 v.88 no.9 pp. 1704-1706
Zea mays, transgenic plants, Bacillus thuringiensis, genetic engineering, bacterial toxins, fluorescence, lignin, vascular bundles, genetic variation, sclerenchyma, genetic transformation, quantitative analysis, pleiotropy, crystal proteins, chemical constituents of plants, hybrids
Bt corn has been genetically modified to express the Cry1Ab protein of Bacillus thuringiensis to kill lepidopteran pests. Fluorescence microscopy and staining with toluidine blue indicated a higher content of lignin in the vascular bundle sheaths and in the sclerenchyma cells surrounding the vascular bundle in all ten Bt corn hybrids, representing three different transformation events, studied than of their respective non-Bt isolines. Chemical analysis confirmed that the lignin content of all hybrids of Bt corn, whether grown in a plant growth room or in the field, was significantly higher (33-97% higher) than that of their respective non-Bt isolines. As lignin is a major structural component of plant cells, modifications in lignin content may have ecological implications.