The design and implementation of insect resistance management programs for Bt crops
Volume 3, Issue 3
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Pages 144 - 153http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/gmcr.20743
Authors: Graham P. Head and John Greenplate View affiliations
Cotton and corn plants with insect resistance traits introduced through biotechnological methods and derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have been widely adopted since they were first introduced in 1996. Because of concerns about resistance evolving to these Bt crops, they have been released with associated IRM programs that employ multiple components and reflect the input of academic, industrial and regulatory experts. This paper summarizes the current status of Bt crop technologies in cotton and corn, the principles of IRM for Bt crops and what they mean for the design of IRM programs. It describes how these IRM programs have been implemented and some of the key factors affecting successful implementation. Finally, it suggests how they may evolve to properly steward these traits in different geographies around the world. The limited number of reported cases of resistance after more than 15 years of intensive global use of Bt crops suggest that this exercise has been broadly successful. Where resistance issues have been observed, they have been associated with first generation technologies and incomplete or compromised IRM programs (i.e., inadequate structured refuge). Next generation technologies with multiple pyramided modes of action, together with the implementation of IRM strategies that are more dependent upon manufacturing and less dependent upon grower behavior, such as seed mixes, should further enhance IRM programs for Bt crops.
Received: January 11, 2012; Accepted: May 14, 2012