Journal of Economic Entomology (2003) 96, 1031-1038

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Bruce E. Tabashnik, Yves Carrière, Timothy J. Dennehy, Shai Morin, Mark S. Sisterson, Richard T. Roush, Anthony M. Shelton and Jian-Zhou Zhao (2003)
Insect resistance to transgenic Bt crops: lessons from the laboratory and field
Journal of Economic Entomology 96 (4), 1031-1038
Abstract: Transgenic crops that produce insecticidal toxins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) grew on >62 million ha worldwide from 1996 to 2002. Despite expectations that pests would rapidly evolve resistance to such Bt crops, increases in the frequency of resistance caused by exposure to Bt crops in the field have not yet been documented. In laboratory and greenhouse tests, however, at least seven resistant laboratory strains of three pests (Plutella xylostella [L.], Pectinophora gossypiella [Saunders], and Helicoverpa armigera [Hübner]) have completed development on Bt crops. In contrast, several other laboratory strains with 70- to 10,100-fold resistance to Bt toxins in diet did not survive on Bt crops. Monitoring of field populations in regions with high adoption of Bt crops has not yet detected increases in resistance frequency. Resistance monitoring examples include Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) in the United States (6 yr), P. gossypiella in Arizona (5 yr), H. armigera in northern China (3 yr), and Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) in North Carolina (2 yr). Key factors delaying resistance to Bt crops are probably refuges of non-Bt host plants that enable survival of susceptible pests, low initial resistance allele frequencies, recessive inheritance of resistance to Bt crops, costs associated with resistance that reduce fitness of resistant individuals relative to susceptible individuals on non-Bt hosts ("fitness costs"), and disadvantages suffered by resistant strains on Bt hosts relative to their performance on non-Bt hosts ("incomplete resistance"). The relative importance of these factors varies among pest-Bt crop systems, and violations of key assumptions of the refuge strategy (low resistance allele frequency and recessive inheritance) may occur in some cases. The success of Bt crops exceeds expectations of many, but does not preclude resistance problems in the future.
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Database assignments for author(s): Bruce E. Tabashnik, Yves Carriere, Anthony M. Shelton

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Ostrinia nubilalis
Helicoverpa armigera China (NE)
Plutella xylostella
Helicoverpa zea U.S.A. (SE)
Pectinophora gossypiella
Bacillus thuringiensis genes in crops (entomopathogen) Ostrinia nubilalis
Bacillus thuringiensis genes in crops (entomopathogen) Helicoverpa armigera
Bacillus thuringiensis genes in crops (entomopathogen) Plutella xylostella
Bacillus thuringiensis genes in crops (entomopathogen) Helicoverpa zea
Bacillus thuringiensis genes in crops (entomopathogen) Pectinophora gossypiella