Evolution of Helicoverpa armigera resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton producing Cry1Ac is progressing in northern China and replacement of Cry1Ac cotton by pyramided Bt cotton has been considered to counter such resistance. Here, we investigated four of the eight conditions underlying success of the refuge strategy for delaying resistance to Cry1Ac+Cry2Ab cotton, a pyramid that has been used extensively against H. armigera outside China. Laboratory bioassays of a Cry2Ab-selected strain (An2Ab) and a related unselected strain (An) reveal that resistance to Cry2Ab (130-fold) was nearly dominant, autosomally inherited, and controlled by more than 1 locus. Strong cross-resistance occurred between Cry2Ab and Cry2Aa (81-fold). Weaker cross-resistance (18- to 22-fold) between Cry2Ab and Cry1A toxins was also present and significantly increased survival of An2Ab relative to An on cotton cultivars producing the fusion protein Cry1Ac/Cry1Ab or Cry1Ac. Survival on Cry1Ac+Cry2Ab cotton was also significantly higher in An2Ab than An, showing that redundant killing on this pyramid was incomplete. Survival on non-Bt cotton did not differ significantly between An2Ab and An, indicating an absence of fitness costs affecting this trait. These results indicate that a switch to three-toxin pyramided cotton could be valuable for increasing durability of Bt cotton in China.
Data for Table 3
Data of survival on cotton with 3 replications per strain and cultivar.
Data of survival on cotton with 3 replications per strain and cultivar.xlsx
Data for Table 4
Data of Bt toxin concentrations in cotton cultivars.
Data of Bt toxin concentrations in cotton cultivars.xlsx