Susceptibility of Field Populations of the Fall Armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) from Florida and Puerto Rico to Purified Cry1f Protein and Corn Leaf Tissue Containing Single and Pyramided Bt Genes

Ying Niu, Robert L. Meagher Jr, Fei Yang, Fangneng Huang


Larval survival of Cry1F-susceptible (FL), -resistant (PR and Cry1F-RR), and -heterozygous (FL x PR and Cry1F-RS) populations of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) to purified Cry1F protein and corn leaf tissue of 7 Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn hybrids and 5 non-Bt corn hybrids was evaluated in the laboratory. The 7 Bt corn hybrids represent 5 Bt corn traits: Herculex®I, which expresses a single Bt protein (Cry1F), and Genuity® VT Double Pro™, VT Triple Pro™, SmartStax™, and Agrisure® Viptera® 3111, which contain ≥ 2 pyramided Bt genes. The original FL and PR populations were collected from corn fields in 2011 in Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively. Diet-incorporation bioassays showed that FL was susceptible to Cry1F protein with a LC50 value of 0.13–0.23 µg/g, while PR was highly resistant to Cry1F protein (> 137-fold). FL was also susceptible to all 7 Bt corn hybrids with a 7-day mortality of > 95%, while PR and a backcrossed and reselected population, Cry1F-RR, were highly resistant to Cry1F corn leaf tissue. The resistance was recessive or incompletely recessive. None of the 5 populations of S. frugiperda could survive on Viptera™ 3111, suggesting this Bt corn trait can completely overcome the resistance and thus should provide a means of managing Cry1F resistance in S. frugiperda. However, Cry1F-RR exhibited a significant cross-resistance to the leaf tissue of the other 3 pyramided Bt corn traits. The possible cross-resistance between single-gene and pyramided Bt corn products suggest that careful selection of Bt genes is essential in use of gene pyramiding strategy for resistance management.

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