Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is an important lepidopteran pest of cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., in Asia. Transgenic cotton expressing the cry1Ac gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been widely planted for control of this pest. For managing the potential risk from resistance evolution in this pest, a new transgenic Bt cotton containing cry1Ac and cry2Ab genes (gene pyramided strategy) was designed as a successor of cry1Ac cotton. This article reports on levels of Cry2Ab tolerance in H. armigera populations from Cry1Ac cotton planting region in China based on bioassays of F1 and F2 offspring of isofemale lines. In total, 572 isofemale families of H. armigera from Xiajin County of Shandong Province (an intensive Bt cotton-planting area) and 124 families from Anci County of Hebei Province [a multiple-crop system, including corn (Zea mays L.), soybean (Gycine max (L.) Merr., peanut (Arachis spp.), and Bt cotton] were screened with both Cry1Ac- and Cry2Ab-containing diets in 2008. The bioassays results indicated that relative average development rates (RADR) of F1 full-sib families from field-collected female moths on Cry1Ac- and Cry2Ab-containing diet were positively correlated. The same correlation was found in the F2 generation, indicating cross-tolerance between Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab in field populations of H. armigera in Yellow River cotton-farming region of China. This cross-tolerance must be considered in evaluating the utility of pyramiding Bt genes in cotton for delaying evolution of resistance.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3