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Evaluation of transgenic sweet corn hybrids expressing CryIA(b) toxin for resistance to corn earworm and fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)



Evaluation of transgenic sweet corn hybrids expressing CryIA(b) toxin for resistance to corn earworm and fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)



Journal of Economic Entomology 92(1): 246-252



Many of the lepidopterous insects which attack sweet corn, Zea mays L., are susceptible to insecticidal proteins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. kurstaki (Berliner) (Btk). Transgenic sweet corn expressing a synthetic cry gene for production of a Btk-insecticidal protein may provide a more environmentally acceptable means of sweet corn production. Eight transgenic sweet corn hybrids containing a synthetic gene for CryIA(b) protein production (BT11 event) were evaluated for resistance to the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), and fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith). Laboratory tests revealed that all Btk sweet corn hybrids were highly resistant to leaf and silk feeding by neonate 3 and 6 d old corn earworm larvae. Ear damage in the field to the Btk sweet corn hybrids caused by corn earworm was negligible. All Btk sweet corn hybrids, except Btk 95-0901, were moderately resistant to leaf and silk feeding by the fall armyworm. Survival and weight gain were reduced when neonates were fed excised whorl leaves of the Btk plants. Weight gain, but not survival, was reduced when 3- and 6-d-old fall armyworm larvae were fed excised whorl leaves of the Btk plants. Btk sweet corn hybrids appear to be ideal candidates for use in integrated pest management (IPM) programs for both the fresh and processing sweet corn markets, and their use should drastically reduce the quantity of insecticides currently used to control these pests in sweet corn. With appropriate cultural practices, it is highly unlikely that Btk sweet corn will contribute to the development of resistance to Btk proteins in these insects because of the high toxicity of the Cry proteins expressed in these sweet corn hybrids and the harvest of sweet corn ears from fields before larvae can complete development.

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Accession: 010620468

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 10036986

DOI: 10.1093/jee/92.1.246


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