Abstract Cry1C is a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal protein and it can be produced by transgenic rice lines developed in China. Cladocera species are common aquatic arthropods that may be exposed to insecticidal proteins produced in Bt-transgenic plants through ingestion of pollen or crop residues in water. As the cladoceran Daphnia magna plays an important role in the aquatic food chain, it is important to assess the possible effects of Bt crops to this species. To evaluate the safety of the Cry1C protein for D. magna, individuals were exposed to different concentrations of purified Cry1C protein in M4 medium for 21 days. Potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7), a known toxicant to D. magna, was added to M4 medium as a positive control treatment, and pure M4 medium was used as a negative control. Our results show that developmental, reproductive, and biochemical parameters of D. magna were not significantly different between Cry1C and negative control treatments but were significantly inhibited by the positive control. We thus conclude that D. magna is insensitive to Cry1C. Highlights A validated dietary exposure assay for assessing the effect of Cry1C protein on Daphnia magna was executed. Cry1C protein had no adverse effect on the growth and reproduction of D. magna. Cry1C protein is ingested by D. magna, but doesn’t alter the activities of the antioxidant-related enzymes SOD, POD and CAT. Transgenic rice producing Cry1C should not harm the aquatic non-target organism D. magna.
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