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Effect of MON810 Bt field corn on Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) cannibalism and its implications to resistance development.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Economic Entomology
0022-0493
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Volume
96
Issue
3
Pages
931–934
Identifiers
PMID: 12852638
Source
Medline

Abstract

Pairs of Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) larvae reared on diet-incorporated MON810 transgenic leaf tissue of field corn (Zea mays L.) were observed in the laboratory to characterize effects of sublethal levels of Bacillus thuringiensis variety kurstaki (Bt) Cry1Ab endotoxins on cannibalistic behavior and mortality. Feeding on sublethal levels of Bt corn reduced the frequency of cannibalistic behaviors exhibited by H. zea when uneven instars were paired together. Exposure to the Bt endotoxin had no significant effect on when cannibalistic mortality occurred or the level of mortality as a result of cannibalism. Assuming that H. zea larvae reared on nonBt corn tissue behaved in a similar way that resistant larvae would if feeding on Bt tissue, sublethal effects of Cry1Ab intoxication may reduce the chances of successful cannibalism by susceptible larvae and thus play a disproportionate role in the survival of multiple ear infestations. Furthermore, cannibalistic encounters could result in partially resistant larvae feeding on nontoxic food, thus temporarily providing an escape from exposure to the Bt endotoxin. These behavior alterations could increase the selective differential between susceptible individuals and those carrying resistance genes.

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