Fitness costs and maternal effects associated with resistance to transgenic cotton in the pink bollworm (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)

Yves Carrière, Christa Ellers-Kirk, Yong Biao Liu, Maria A. Sims, Amanda L. Patin, Timothy J. Dennehy, Bruce E. Tabashnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Transgenic cotton producing a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin is widely used for controlling the pink bollworm, Perctinophora gossypiella (Saunders). We compared performance of pink bollworm strains resistant to Bt cotton with performance of their susceptible counterparts on non-Bt cotton. We found fitness costs that reduced survival on non-Bt cotton by an average of 51.5% in two resistant strains relative to the susceptible strains. The survival cost was recessive in one set of crosses between a resistant strain and the susceptible strain from which it was derived. However, crosses involving an unrelated resistant and susceptible strain indicated that the survival cost could be dominant. Development time on non-Bt cotton did not differ between the two related resistant and susceptible strains. A slight recessive cost affecting development time was suggested by comparison of the unrelated resistant and susceptible strains. Maternal effects transmitted by parents that had eaten Bt-treated artificial diet as larvae had negative effects on embryogenesis, adult fertility, or both, and reduced the ability of neonates to enter cotton bolls. These results provide further evidence that fitness costs associated with the evolution of resistance to Bt cotton are substantial in the pink bollworm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1571-1576
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2001


  • Bacillus thuringiensis
  • Maternal effects
  • Pectinophora gossypiella
  • Resistance costs
  • Transgenic cotton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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