Sixteen Years of Bt Maize in the EU Hotspot: Why Has Resistance Not EvolvedReportar como inadecuado

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The majority of Bt maize production in the European Union EU is concentrated in northeast Spain, which is Europe’s only hotspot where resistance might evolve, and the main target pest, Sesamia nonagrioides, has been exposed to Cry1Ab maize continuously since 1998. The cropping system in northeast Spain has some similar characteristics to those that probably led to rapid resistance failures in two other target noctuid maize pests. These include repeated cultivation of Bt maize in the same fields, low use of refuges, recurring exposure of larvae to non-high dose concentrations of Cry1Ab toxin during the first years of cultivation, low migratory potential, and production concentrated in an irrigated region with few alternative hosts. Available data reveal no evidence of resistance in S. nonagrioides after 16 years of use. We explore the possible reasons for this resistance management success using evolutionary models to consider factors expected to accelerate resistance, and those expected to delay resistance. Low initial adoption rates and the EU policy decision to replace Event 176 with MON 810 Bt maize were key to delaying resistance evolution. Model results suggest that if refuge compliance continues at the present 90%, Bt maize might be used sustainably in northeast Spain for at least 20 more years before resistance might occur. However, obtaining good estimates of the present R allele frequency and level of local assortative mating are crucial to reduce uncertainty about the future success of resistance management.

Autor: Pedro Castañera, Gema P. Farinós, Félix Ortego, David A. Andow



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