Main content area

Evolution, ecology and management of resistance in Helicoverpa spp. to Bt cotton in Australia

Downes, Sharon, Mahon, Rod
Journal of invertebrate pathology 2012 v.110 no.3 pp. 281-286
Bacillus thuringiensis, Helicoverpa armigera, Helicoverpa punctigera, alleles, business enterprises, cotton, ecology, evolution, gene frequency, insecticidal proteins, larvae, pests, resistance management, transgenic plants, Australia
Prior to the widespread adoption of two-gene Bt cotton (Bollgard II®) in Australia, the frequency of resistance alleles to one of the deployed proteins (Cry2Ab) was at least 0.001 in the pests targeted namely, Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa punctigera. In the 7years hence, there has been a statistically significant increase in the frequency of alleles conferring Cry2Ab resistance in field populations of H. punctigera. This paper reviews the history of deploying Bt cotton in Australia, the characteristics of the isolated Cry2Ab resistance that likely impact on resistance evolution, aspects of the efficacy of Bollgard IIχ, and the behavioural ecology of Helicoverpa spp. larvae as it pertains to resistance management. It also presents up-to-date frequencies of resistant alleles for H. punctigera and reviews the same information for H. armigera. This is followed by a discussion of current resistance management strategies. The consequences of the imminent release of a third generation product that utilizes the novel vegetative insecticidal protein Vip3A are then considered. The area planted to Bt-crops is anticipated to continue to rise worldwide and many biotechnical companies intend to add Vip3A to existing products; therefore the information reviewed herein for Australia is likely to be pertinent to other situations.