Transgenic cotton has shown great promise for the control of target pest insects; however, frequent outbreaks of nontarget pest mirids has been recorded in recent years in northern China. To test the hypothesis that transgenic cotton contributes to nontarget pest outbreaks, we studied the impact of transgenic Bt cottons (both Bt and Bt CpTI) on the fitness of nontarget pest Adelphocoris suturalis Jakovlev. No significant differences were detected between population densities of A. suturalis in unsprayed nontransgenic cottons and in unsprayed transgenic Bt cottons in 2007, 2008, and 2009. No difference in preferred oviposition site or egg production was detected between transgenic and nontransgenic cottons in both free choice and no choice tests. No difference in life table parameters was detected for A. suturalis between Bt cottons and nontransgenic cottons. All these results indicated that transgenic crops did not contribute to the nontarget pest outbreaks when being compared with their parental lines. The possible reasons for intensified pest status of A. suturalis, such as decrease of pesticide application, deficient natural enemies, and area-wide shift of cotton varieties, were discussed.
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