Spatial Processes in the Evolution of Resistance in Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to Bt Transgenic Corn and Cotton in a Mixed Agroecosystem: a Biology-rich Stochastic Simulation Model

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A simulation model is developed to examine the role of spatial processes in the evolution of resistance in Helicoverpa zea populations to Bt corn and Bt cotton. The model is developed from the stochastic spatially explicit Heliothis virescens model described by Peck et al. (1999), to accommodate a spatial mix of two host crops (corn and cotton), and to reflect the agronomic practices, as well as the spatial and temporal population dynamics of H. zea, in eastern North Carolina. The model suggests that selection for resistance is more intense in Bt cotton fields than in Bt corn fields. It further suggests that local gene frequencies are highly dependent on local deployment levels of Bt crops despite the high mobility of the adult insects. Region-wide average gene frequencies depend on the region-wide level of Bt deployment, so incomplete technology adoption slows the rate of resistance evolution. However, on a local scale, H. zea populations in clusters of fields in which Bt use is high undergo far more rapid evolution than populations in neighboring clusters of fields in which Bt use is low. The model suggests that farm-level refuge requirements are important for managing the risk of resistance. The model can be used as an aid in designing plans for monitoring for resistance by suggesting the appropriate distribution of monitoring locations, which should focus on areas of highest Bt crop deployment. The findings need to be placed in the context of the input parameters, many of which are uncertain or highly variable in nature, and therefore, a thorough sensitivity analysis is warranted.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; computer simulation; resistance management; transgenic crops

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • 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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