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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #256021

Title: Effects of four nematodes species on fitness costs of pink bollworm resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis toxin Cry1Ac

item HANNON, EUGENE - University Of Arizona
item Sisterson, Mark
item STOCK, PATRICIA - University Of Arizona
item CARRIERE, YVES - University Of Arizona
item TABASHNIK, BRUCE - University Of Arizona
item GASSMANN, AARON - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/21/2010
Publication Date: 11/1/2010
Citation: Hannon, E., Sisterson, M.S., Stock, P., Carriere, Y., Tabashnik, B., Gassmann, A. 2010. Effects of four nematodes species on fitness costs of pink bollworm resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis toxin Cry1Ac. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Dec 12-15, 2010, San Diego, CA. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Evolution of resistance by pests can reduce efficacy of transgenic crops that produce insecticidal toxins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). In conjunction with refuges of non-Bt host plants, fitness costs can delay the evolution of resistance. Furthermore, fitness costs often vary with ecological conditions, suggesting that agricultural landscapes can be manipulated to magnify fitness costs and thereby prolong efficacy of Bt crops. In the present study, the effects of four species of entomopathogenic nematodes (Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae) on magnitude and dominance of fitness costs of resistance to Bt toxin Cry1Ac in pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) were tested. Although field populations of pink bollworm have remained susceptible to Bt cotton producing Cry1Ac for more than a decade, laboratory strains that had a mixture of susceptible and resistant individuals were used. In laboratory experiments, dominant fitness costs were imposed by the nematode Steinernema riobrave but no fitness costs were imposed by Steinernema carpocapsae, Steinernema sp. (ML18 strain), or Heterorhabditis sonorensis. In computer simulations, evolution of resistance to Cry1Ac by pink bollworm was substantially delayed by treating some non-Bt cotton refuge fields with nematodes that imposed a dominant fitness cost, similar to the cost observed in laboratory experiments with S. riobrave. Based on the results here and in related studies, it was concluded that entomopathogenic nematodes could bolster insect resistance management, but the success of this approach will depend on selecting appropriate species of nematode, as fitness costs were magnified by only one of four species evaluated.