The western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera
LeConte, is among the most serious insect pests of maize in North America. One strategy used to manage this pest is transgenic maize that produces one or more crystalline (Cry) toxins derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis
(Bt). To delay Bt resistance by insect pests, refuges of non-Bt maize are grown in conjunction with Bt maize. Two factors influencing the success of the refuge strategy to delay resistance are the inheritance of resistance and fitness costs, with greater delays in resistance expected when inheritance of resistance is recessive and fitness costs are present. We measured inheritance and fitness costs of resistance for two strains of western corn rootworm with field-evolved resistance to Cry3Bb1 maize. Plant-based and diet-based bioassays revealed that the inheritance of resistance was non-recessive. In a greenhouse experiment, in which larvae were reared on whole maize plants in field soil, no fitness costs of resistance were detected. In a laboratory experiment, in which larvae experienced intraspecific and interspecific competition for food, a fitness cost of delayed larval development was identified, however, no other fitness costs were found. These findings of non-recessive inheritance of resistance and minimal fitness costs, highlight the potential for the rapid evolution of resistance to Cry3Bb1 maize by western corn rootworm, and may help to improve resistance management strategies for this pest.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited