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1 December 2009 Field-Evolved Insect Resistance to Bt Crops: Definition, Theory, and Data
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Abstract

Transgenic crops producing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins for insect pest control have been successful, but their efficacy is reduced when pests evolve resistance. Here we review the definition of field-evolved resistance, the relationship between resistance and field control problems, the theory underlying strategies for delaying resistance, and resistance monitoring methods. We also analyze resistance monitoring data from five continents reported in 41 studies that evaluate responses of field populations of 11 lepidopteran pests to four Bt toxins produced by Bt corn and cotton. After more than a decade since initial commercialization of Bt crops, most target pest populations remain susceptible, whereas field-evolved resistance has been documented in some populations of three noctuid moth species: Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) to in Bt corn in Puerto Rico, Busseola fusca (Fuller) to Cry1Ab in Bt corn in South Africa, and Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) to Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab in Bt cotton in the southeastern United States. Field outcomes are consistent with predictions from theory, suggesting that factors delaying resistance include recessive inheritance of resistance, abundant refuges of non-Bt host plants, and two-toxin Bt crops deployed separately from one-toxin Bt crops. The insights gained from systematic analyses of resistance monitoring data may help to enhance the durability of transgenic insecticidal crops. We recommend continued use of the long-standing definition of resistance cited here and encourage discussions about which regulatory actions, if any, should be triggered by specific data on the magnitude, distribution, and impact of field-evolved resistance.

© 2009 Entomological Society of America
Bruce E. Tabashnik, J.B.J. Van Rensburg, and Yves Carrière "Field-Evolved Insect Resistance to Bt Crops: Definition, Theory, and Data," Journal of Economic Entomology 102(6), 2011-2025, (1 December 2009). https://doi.org/10.1603/029.102.0601
Received: 9 September 2009; Accepted: 1 October 2009; Published: 1 December 2009
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