The Indica rice breeding line IR58 was transformed by particle bombardment with a truncated version of a synthetic cryIA(b) gene from Bacillus thuringiensis. This gene is expressed under control of the CaMV 35S promoter and allows efficient production of the lepidopteran specific delta-endotoxin. R0, R1 and R2 generation plants displayed a significant insecticidal effect on several lepidopterous insect pests. Feeding studies showed mortality rates of up to 100% for two of the most destructive insect pests of rice in Asia, the yellow stem borer (Scirpophaga incertulas) and the striped stem borer (Chilo suppressalis), and feeding inhibition of the two leaffolder species Cnaphalocrocis medinalis and Marasmia patnalis. Introduction of stem borer resistance into the germplasm of an Indica rice breeding line now makes this agronomically important trait available for conventional rice breeding programs.