Diverse genetic basis of field-evolved resistance to Bt cotton in cotton bollworm from China

Haonan Zhang, Wen Tian, Jing Zhao, Lin Jin, Jun Yang, Chunhui Liu, Yihua Yang, Shuwen Wu, Kongming Wu, Jinjie Cui, Bruce E. Tabashnik, Yidong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


Evolution of pest resistance reduces the efficacy of insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) used in sprays or in transgenic crops. Although several pests have evolved resistance to Bt crops in the field, information about the genetic basis of fieldevolved resistance to Bt crops has been limited. In particular, laboratory- selected resistance to Bt toxin Cry1Ac based on recessive mutations in a gene encoding a toxin-binding cadherin protein has been identified in three major cotton pests, but previous work has not determined if such mutations are associated with fieldselected resistance to Bt cotton. Here we show that the most common resistance alleles in field populations of cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera, selected with Bt cotton in northern China, had recessive cadherin mutations, including the deletion mutation identified via laboratory selection. However, unlike all previously studied cadherin resistance alleles, one field-selected cadherin resistance allele conferred nonrecessive resistance. We also detected nonrecessive resistance that was not genetically linked with the cadherin locus. In field-selected populations, recessive cadherin alleles accounted for 75-84% of resistance alleles detected. However, most resistance alleles occurred in heterozygotes and 59-94% of resistant individuals carried at least one nonrecessive resistance allele. The results suggest that resistance management strategies must account for diverse resistance alleles in field-selected populations, including nonrecessive alleles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10275-10280
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 26 2012


  • Dominant resistance
  • F screen
  • F screen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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