Insect resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis: Uniform or diverse?

Bruce E. Tabashnik, Yong Biao Liu, Thomas Malvar, David G. Heckel, Luke Masson, Juan Ferré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Resistance to the insecticidal proteins produced by the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been documented in more than a dozen species of insect. Nearly all of these cases have been produced primarily by selection in the laboratory, but one pest, the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), has evolved resistance in open-field populations. Insect resistance to Bt has immediate and widespread significance because of increasing reliance on Bt toxins in genetically engineered crops and conventional sprays. Furthermore, intense interest in Bt provides an opportunity to examine the extent to which evolutionary pathways to resistance vary among and within species of insect. One mode of resistance to Bt is characterized by more than 500-fold resistance to at least one Cry1A toxin, recessive inheritance, little or no cross-resistance to Cry1C, and reduced binding of at least one Cry1A toxin. Analysis of resistance to Bt in the diamondback moth and two other species of moths suggests that although this particular mode of resistance may be the most common, it is not the only means by which insects can attain resistance to Bt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1751-1756
Number of pages6
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1376
StatePublished - Oct 29 1998


  • Allelism
  • Bacillus thuringiensis
  • Diamondback moth
  • Evolution
  • Genetic variation
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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