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    Transgenic crops that produce Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins are effective tools for controlling lepidopteran pests. However, the degree of susceptibility to Bt toxins differs among various pest species due to relatively narrow spectrum and high selectivity of such toxins. Bt corn hybrids for Chinese market were designed to target Asian corn borer Ostrinia furnacalis (Guenée), while their efficacy against other lepidopteran pests are not well defined, such as Conogethes punctiferalis (Guenée), Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), Agrotis ypsilon (Rottemberg), and Mythimna separata (Walker), which are also important lepidopteran pests on corn in the Huang-Huai-Hai Summer Corn Region of China. To determine what type of Bt corn is suitable for this region, the efficacy of five Bt toxins, i.e., Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, Cry1F, Cry2Ab, and Vip3A, to these five lepidopteran species was evaluated in laboratory. Both O. furnacalis and C. punctiferalis showed similar high susceptibility to all five Bt toxins. A. ypsilon and M. separate were less sensitive to Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac than the other species. H. armigera, A. ypsilon and M. separate were less sensitive to Cry1F than O. furnacalis and C. punctiferalis. H. armigera was more sensitive to Cry2Ab than other tested species. All five species were equally sensitive to Vip3A, though their LC50s were all relatively higher. These findings suggest that the first generation Bt corn expressing single Cry1 toxin should not be the first choice because of the potential risk of control failure or less efficacy against H. armigera, A. ypsilon or M. separate. The second-generation Bt corn expressing Cry1 and Cry2 toxins, or the third generation Bt corn expressing Cry1, Cry2 and Vip3A toxins might produce better protection of corn in the Huang-Huai-Hai Summer Corn Region of China.


    Guoping Li, Hongqiang Feng, Tingjie Ji, Jianrong Huang, Caihong Tian. What type of Bt corn is suitable for a region with diverse lepidopteran pests: A laboratory evaluation. GM crops & food. 2021 Jan 02;12(1):115-124

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    PMID: 33084486

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