No fitness costs associated with resistance of Busseola fusca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to genetically modified Bt maize
Van Rensburg, J.B.J.
Van den Berg, J.
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A concern regarding planting of Bt crops is that their widespread cultivation could lead to evolution of insect resistance to Bt toxins. In South Africa, the noctuid maize stem borer (Busseola fusca [Fuller]), is resistant to Bt maize (Zea mays L.; MON810) which produces Cry1Ab protein. The presence of fitness costs in resistant populations could be a valuable component of resistance management since the non-Bt maize refuge may select against resistance. The aim of the study was to determine if there are fitness costs associated with Bt resistance of B. fusca. Life history parameters were compared between individuals of a Bt maize resistant B. fusca population when feeding on Bt or non-Bt maize. Similar comparisons were done using a control population. Field collected larvae as well as their F1-generation were used in the study. The following parameters were compared: pupal mass, moth longevity, fecundity, fertility, larval mass and survival, and sex ratio. Except for LT50-values, no fitness costs were associated with the resistance trait in the highly resistant B. fusca population. The absence of fitness costs and presence of resistant populations may promote the use of a multi-gene strategy which would be expected to impact negatively on fitness.