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Title: Studies on resistance to vegetative (Vip3A) and crystal (Cry1A) insecticidal toxins of Bacillus thuringiensis in Heliothis virescens (Fabricius)
Author: Pickett, Brian R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 8772
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2009
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Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins expressed in commercial transgenic crop varieties are all δ-endotoxins (Cry toxins) but the identification of novel vegetative insecticidal proteins (Vip toxins) has extended the range of insecticidal proteins derived from Bt. One such Vip toxin, Vip3A, primarily targets the midgut epithelium cells of susceptible insects as Cry toxins do, although they appear to have different binding sites. The present study investigated the comparative toxicity of Vip3A, Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac against Heliothis virescens (tobacco budworm) and the impact of antibiotics on Bt insecticidal activity. The selection of a resistant Vip3A population led to the determination of cross-resistance, the genetics of resistance and fitness effects. There was very little variability in the natural susceptibility to Vip3A, Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac in the populations tested, although the toxicity of Vip3A was much lower compared to the Cry1A toxins. A Vip3A resistant population was successfully established within 13 selected generations, with little or no cross-resistance to Cry1Ab or Cry1Ac. The inheritance of resistance ranged from almost completely recessive to incompletely dominant with a possible paternal influence, was polygenic and relatively stable. Vip3A resistance showed a fitness benefit, reduced larval development time, and fitness costs, including survival to adult eclosion, reduced egg viability and reduced male mating success. The effects of antibiotics on H. virescens larval susceptibility to Bt toxins varied depending on antibiotic treatment, the Bt toxin used and the larval instar tested. Bt cotton expressing both Vip3A and Cry1Ab to provide activity against a wide range of pest Lepidoptera, including H. virescens, a major cotton pest in the USA is in the process of commercialisation. The present work will help to support a suitable insecticide resistance management strategy for continued use of Bt toxin in transgenic crops.
Supervisor: Wright, Denis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral