Cry1F resistance in fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda: Single gene versus pyramided Bt maize

Fangneng Huang, Jawwad A. Qureshi, Robert L. Meagher, Dominic D. Reisig, Graham P. Head, David A. Andow, Xinzi Ni, David Kerns, G. David Buntin, Ying Niu, Fei Yang, Vikash Dangal

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Evolution of insect resistance to transgenic crops containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) genes is a serious threat to the sustainability of this technology. However, field resistance related to the reduced efficacy of Bt maize has not been documented in any lepidopteran pest in the mainland U.S. after 18 years of intensive Bt maize planting. Here we report compelling evidence of field resistance in the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith), to Cry1F maize (TC 3507) in the southeastern region of the U.S. An F2 screen showed a surprisingly high (0.293) Cry1F resistance allele frequency in a population collected in 2011 from non-Bt maize in south Florida. Field populations from non-Bt maize in 2012-2013 exhibited 18.8-fold to <85.4-fold resistance to purified Cry1F protein and those collected from unexpectedly damaged Bt maize plants at several locations in Florida and North Carolina had .85.4-fold resistance. In addition, reduced efficacy and control failure of Cry1F maize against natural populations of S. frugiperda were documented in field trials using Cry1F-based and pyramided Bt maize products in south Florida. The Cry1F-resistant S. frugiperda also showed a low level of crossresistance to Cry1A.105 and related maize products, but not to Cry2Ab2 or Vip3A. The occurrence of Cry1F resistance in the U.S. mainland populations of S. frugiperda likely represents migration of insects from Puerto Rico, indicating the great challenges faced in achieving effective resistance management for long-distance migratory pests like S. frugiperda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0112958
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 17 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors have read the journal’s policy and have the following competing interests. F.H. received research funding related to this project from the Louisiana Soybean and Feed Grain Promotion Board, Monsanto, and the hatch funds from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. G.P.H. has an affiliation to one of the financial supporters of this study. This does not alter the authors’ adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.


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