Vip3A Resistance Alleles Exist at High Levels in Australian Targets before Release of Cotton Expressing This Toxin
by Rod J. Mahon, Sharon J. Downes, Bill James
Crops engineered to produce insecticidal crystal (Cry) proteins from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have revolutionised pest control in agriculture. However field-level resistance to Bt has developed in some targets. Utilising novel vegetative insecticidal proteins (Vips), also derived from Bt but genetically distinct from Cry toxins, is a possible solution that biotechnical companies intend to employ. Using data collected over two seasons we determined that, before deployment of Vip-expressing plants in Australia, resistance alleles exist in key targets as polymorphisms at frequencies of 0.027 (n = 273 lines, 95% CI = 0.019–0.038) in H. armigera and 0.008 (n = 248 lines, 0.004–0.015) in H. punctigera. These frequencies are above mutation rates normally encountered. Homozygous resistant neonates survived doses of Vip3A higher than those estimated in field-grown plants. Fortunately the resistance is largely, if not completely, recessive and does not confer resistance to the Bt toxins Cry1Ac or Cry2Ab already deployed in cotton crops. These later characteristics are favourable for resistance management; however the robustness of Vip3A inclusive varieties will depend on resistance frequencies to the Cry toxins when it is released (anticipated 2016) and the efficacy of Vip3A throughout the season. It is appropriate to pre-emptively screen key targets of Bt crops elsewhere, especially those such as H. zea in the USA, which is not only closely related to H. armigera but also will be exposed to Vip in several varieties of cotton and corn.
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Syndicated from:PLoS ONE
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