The Impact of Inter-Kernel Movement in the Evolution of Resistance to Dual-Toxin Bt-Corn Varieties in Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Academic Article uri icon


  • Seeds or kernels on hybrid plants are primarily F(2) tissue and will segregate for heterozygous alleles present in the parental F(1) hybrids. In the case of plants expressing Bt-toxins, the F(2) tissue in the kernels will express toxins as they would segregate in any F(2) tissue. In the case of plants expressing two unlinked toxins, the kernels on a Bt plant fertilized by another Bt plant would express anywhere from 0 to 2 toxins. Larvae of corn earworm [Helicoverpa zea (Boddie)] feed on a number of kernels during development and would therefore be exposed to local habitats (kernels) that varied in their toxin expression. Three models were developed for plants expressing two Bt-toxins, one where the traits are unlinked, a second where the traits were linked and a third model assuming that maternal traits were expressed in all kernels as well as paternally inherited traits. Results suggest that increasing larval movement rates off of expressing kernels tended to increase durability while increasing movement rates off of nonexpressing kernels always decreased durability. An ideal block refuge (no pollen flow between blocks and refuges) was more durable than a seed blend because the refuge expressed no toxins, while pollen contamination from plants expressing toxins in a seed blend reduced durability. A linked-trait model in an ideal refuge model predicted the longest durability. The results suggest that using a seed-blend strategy for a kernel feeding insect on a hybrid crop could dramatically reduce durability through the loss of refuge due to extensive cross-pollination.

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Caprio, M. A., Martinez, J. C., Porter, P. A., & Bynum, E. d.

citation count

  • 11

publication date

  • November 2015