Transgenic cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) varieties, adapted to China, have been bred that express two genes for resistance to insects. the Cry1Ac gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Berliner) (Bt), and a trypsin inhibitor gene from cowpea (CpTI). Effectiveness of the double gene modification in conferring resistance to cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), was studied in laboratory and field experiments. In each experiment, performance of Bt CpTI cotton was compared with Bt cotton and to a conventional nontransgenic variety. Larval survival was lower on both types of transgenic variety, compared with the conventional cotton. Survival of first-, second-, and third-stage larvae was lower on Bt CpTI cotton than on Bt cotton. Plant structures differed in level of resistance, and these differences were similar on Bt and Bt CpTI cotton. Likewise, seasonal trends in level of resistance in different plant structures were similar in Bt and Bt CpTI cotton. Both types of transgenic cotton interfered with development of sixth-stage larvae to adults, and no offspring was produced by H. armigera that fed on Bt or Bt CpTI cotton from the sixth stage onward. First-, second-, and third-stage larvae spent significantly less time feeding on transgenic cotton than on conventional cotton, and the reduction in feeding time was significantly greater on Bt CpTI cotton than on Bt cotton. Food conversion efficiency was lower on transgenic varieties than on conventional cotton, but there was no significant difference between Bt and Bt CpTI cotton. In 3-yr field experimentation, bollworm densities were greatly suppressed on transgenic as compared with conventional cotton, but no significant differences between Bt and Bt CpTI cotton were found. Overall, the results from laboratory work indicate that introduction of the CpTI gene in Bt cotton raises some components of resistance in cotton against H. armigera, but enhanced control of H. armigera under field conditions, due to expression of the CpTI gene, was not demonstrated.
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Vol. 104 • No. 2