Bt Resistance Management

C. Neal Stewart

in Genetically Modified Planet

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195157451
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199790388 | DOI:
 Bt Resistance Management

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Although Bt transgenic plants are ecologically benign compared with insecticide sprays, there is a concern that insects will eventually evolve resistance to Bt toxin. If that happened, then the transgenic plants would no longer control the pest insects. The mechanism of how Bt toxins kill target insects, and the strategies that have been proposed to delay the onset of resistance to Bt are described. The two most important management practices are high doses of toxin and refugia. For the high dose strategy, a lot of Bt protein is produced in the plant, which makes a high hurdle for evolution to jump in a single bound. The refugia strategy requires non-transgenic plants to be planted in fields next to transgenic crop fields. This would allow large numbers of potential mates for which there is no pressure to evolve resistance that could interbreed with the very rare resistant insects. In combination, these strategies have proven effective.

Keywords: Bt plants; insects; high dose; refugia; resistance

Chapter.  5280 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biotechnology

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