A transgenic line of the soybean ‘Jack’, Glycine max (L.) Merrill, expressing a synthetic cry1Ac gene from Bacillus thuringiensis variety kurstaki (Jack-Bt), was evaluated for resistance to four lepidopteran pests in the field. Jack-Bt and genotypes serving as susceptible and resistant controls were planted in field cages and artificially infested with larvae of corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), and velvetbean caterpillar, Anticarsia gemmatalis (Hübner), in 1996, 1997, and 1998, and also with soybean looper, Pseudoplusia includens (Walker), in 1996. Susceptible controls included Jack (1996–1998), ‘Cobb’ (1996), and Jack-HPH (1996). GatIR 81–296 was used as the resistant control in all 3 yr. Compared with untransformed Jack, Jack-Bt showed three to five times less defoliation from corn earworm and eight to nine times less damage from velvetbean caterpillar. Defoliation of GatIR 81–296 was intermediate between that of Jack and Jack-Bt for corn earworm, and similar to that of Jack for velveltbean caterpillar. Jack-Bt exhibited significant, but lower resistance to soybean looper. Jack-Bt also showed four times greater resistance than Jack to natural infestations of lesser cornstalk borer, Elasmopalpus lignosellus (Zeller), in conventional field plots at two locations in 1998. Data from these experiments suggest that expression of this cry1Ac construct in soybean should provide adequate levels of resistance to several lepidopteran pests under field conditions.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3