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Theor Appl Genet. 2003 May;106(7):1225-33. Epub 2002 Dec 10.

Frequency of alleles conferring resistance to Bt maize in French and US corn belt populations of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis.

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  • 1Unité de Recherches de Lutte biologique, INRA La Minière, 78 285 Guyancourt, France. bourguet@jouy.inra.fr


Farmers, industry, governments and environmental groups agree that it would be useful to manage transgenic crops producing insecticidal proteins to delay the evolution of resistance in target pests. The main strategy proposed for delaying resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis ( Bt) toxins in transgenic crops is the high-dose/refuge strategy. This strategy is based on the unverified assumption that resistance alleles are initially rare (<10(-3)). We used an F(2) screen on >1,200 isofemale lines of Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) collected in France and the US corn belt during 1999-2001. In none of the isofemale lines did we detect alleles conferring resistance to Bt maize producing the Cry1Ab toxin. A Bayesian analysis of the data indicates that the frequency of resistance alleles in France was <9.20 x 10(-4) with 95% probability, and a detection probability of >80%. In the northern US corn belt, the frequency of resistance to Bt maize was <4.23 x 10(-4) with 95% probability, and a detection probability of >90%. Only 95 lines have been screened from the southern US corn belt, so these data are still inconclusive. These results suggest that resistance is probably rare enough in France and the northern US corn belt for the high-dose plus refuge strategy to delay resistance to Bt maize.

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