Dispersal of neonate European corn borers, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), in seed mixtures of transgenic corn expressing Cry1Ab protein (Bt ) and nontransgenic corn (Bt−) was evaluated in a 2-yr field study. The main objective was to determine if larval dispersal limits the effectiveness of seed mixtures as a resistance management strategy. Mixtures evaluated included (1) all Bt plants, (2) every fifth plant Bt− with remaining plants Bt , (3) every fifth plant Bt with remaining plants Bt−, and (4) all Bt− plants. The transformation events MON 802 (B73 BC1F2 × Mo17) and MON 810 (B73 BC1F1 × Mo17), which express the Cry1Ab endotoxin isolated from Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki, were used as the sources of Bt seed in 1994 and 1995, respectively (YieldGard, Monsanto, St. Louis, MO). At corn growth stage V6-V8, subplots within each mixture (15–20 plants each) were infested so that every fifth plant in mixtures 1 and 4, every Bt− plant in mixture 2, and every Bt plant in mixture 3 received two egg masses. Larval sampling over a 21-d period indicated increased neonate dispersal off of Bt plants, reduced survival of larvae that dispersed from Bt plants to Bt− plants, and a low incidence of late-instar movement from Bt− plants to Bt plants. Computer simulations based on mortality and dispersal estimates from this study indicate that seed mixtures will delay the evolution of resistant European corn borer populations compared with uniform planting of transgenic corn. However, resistant European corn borer populations likely will develop faster in seed mixes compared with separate plantings of Bt and non-Bt corn.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3