The efficacy of Bacillus thuringiensis-transformed corn (Zea mays L.) hybrids compared with comparable nontransformed corn hybrids for controlling first- and second-generation European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), and second-generation southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella Dyar, was determined. Yield comparisons were obtained from the same plots of corn hybrids. Both generations of European and the second-generation of southwestern corn borer were effectively controlled, but the Bt hybrids varied in degree of control. Hybrids from Ciba Seeds, DEKALB, and Mycogen had more European corn borer tunneling than those from Novartis or Cargill, and this was generally ascribed to different transgenic events. The Bt-transformed hybrids had virtually no leaf-feeding damage and less tunneling than the non-Bt corn hybrids. Some Bt corn hybrids had no tunneling, whereas other Bt hybrids had a small amount of tunneling. All of the non-Bt hybrids had significant leaf-feeding damage and stalk tunneling from both insects. Only three live European corn borer larvae (stunted) were found in the Bt corn hybrids while splitting stalks to assess tunnel length. When insect damage was significant, and in some evaluations where damage was not significant, differences in yields among hybrids were observed. No significant insect population differences were observed for five genera of beneficial insects for Bt versus non-Bt corn hybrids. Corn hybrids that have been transformed with the Bt gene provide an effective means of control for corn borers and efforts to reduce the likelihood of development of borer resistance are warranted.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3