Managing Resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis: Lessons from the Diamondback Moth (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae

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Laboratory selection increased resistance to B. thuringiensis in three strains established from a moderately resistant field population of diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.). Five generations of laboratory selection caused 5- to 7-fold increases in LC.u. resulting in 150- to 190-fold resistance compared with a susceptible laboratory colony. Nine generations of selection produced 430- to 820-fold resistance. In contrast, five foliar applications of B. thuringiensis in the field did not increase the LC>oof a moderately resistant population. Field-selected resistance to B. thuringiensis declined slowly in the absence of treatments. The rapid response to laboratory selection shows intrapopulation genetic variation in susceptibility to B. thuringiensis and suggests that intense selection may produce much higher levels of resistance to B. thuringiensis than those previously reported from the field. We hypothesize that resistance increased faster in the laboratory than in the field because selection intensity was lower in the field. Because susceptibility was not restored quickly when treatments were discontinued, rotations may not be especially effective for managing resistance to B. thuringiensis in diamondback moth. Field populations of diamondback moth developed resistance to a commercial formulation containing a mixture of B. thuringiensis toxins, an event that raises doubts about the ability of mixtures to retard resistance development. Extensive and intensive exposure of pests to B. thuringiensis toxins through transgenic crop plants or other tactics may cause widespread pest resistance. We urge judicious use of B. thuringiensis to conserve its efficacy.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1991

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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