The cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV) transmitted by Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) has caused significant reductions in fall melon (Cucumis melo L.) yields in Yuma County, Arizona. In a recent landscape-based study, we found evidence that cotton and spring melon fields increased abundance of B. tabaci and spread of CYSDV infection in fall melon fields. Here, we show that a statistical model derived from data collected in 2011-2012 and based on areas of cotton and spring melon fields located within 1,500 m from edges of fall melon fields was sufficient to retrospectively predict incidence of CYSDV infection in fall melon fields during 2007-2010. Nevertheless, the slope of the association between areas of spring melon fields and incidence of CYSDV infection was three times smaller in 2007-2010 than in 2011-2012, whereas the slope of the association between areas of cotton fields and incidence of CYSDV infection was consistent between study periods. Accordingly, predictions were more accurate when data on areas of cotton alone were used as a basis for prediction than when data on areas of cotton and spring melons were used. Validation of this statistical model confirms that crop isolation has potential for reducing incidence of CYSDV infection in fall melon fields in Yuma County, although isolation from cotton may provide more consistent benefits than isolation from spring melon.
Evolution of Helicoverpa armigera resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton producing Cry1Ac is progressing in northern China, and replacement of Cry1Ac cotton by pyramided Bt cotton has been considered to counter such resistance. Here, we investigated four of the eight conditions underlying success of the refuge strategy for delaying resistance to Cry1Ac+Cry2Ab cotton, a pyramid that has been used extensively against H. armigera outside China. Laboratory bioassays of a Cry2Ab-selected strain (An2Ab) and a related unselected strain (An) reveal that resistance to Cry2Ab (130-fold) was nearly dominant, autosomally inherited, and controlled by more than one locus. Strong cross-resistance occurred between Cry2Ab and Cry2Aa (81-fold). Weaker cross-resistance (18- to 22-fold) between Cry2Ab and Cry1A toxins was also present and significantly increased survival of An2Ab relative to An on cotton cultivars producing the fusion protein Cry1Ac/Cry1Ab or Cry1Ac. Survival on Cry1Ac+Cry2Ab cotton was also significantly higher in An2Ab than in An, showing that redundant killing on this pyramid was incomplete. Survival on non-Bt cotton did not differ significantly between An2Ab and An, indicating an absence of fitness costs affecting this trait. These results indicate that a switch to three-toxin pyramided cotton could be valuable for increasing durability of Bt cotton in China.
Transgenic crops have revolutionized insect pest control, but their effectiveness has been reduced by evolution of resistance in pests. We analyzed global monitoring data reported during the first two decades of transgenic crops, with each case representing the responses of one pest species in one country to one insecticidal protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The cases of pest resistance to Bt crystalline (Cry) proteins produced by transgenic crops increased from 3 in 2005 to 16 in 2016. By contrast, in 17 other cases there was no decrease in pest susceptibility to Bt crops, including the recently introduced transgenic corn that produces a Bt vegetative insecticidal protein (Vip). Recessive inheritance of pest resistance has favored sustained susceptibility, but even when inheritance is not recessive, abundant refuges of non-Bt host plants have substantially delayed resistance. These insights may inform resistance management strategies to increase the durability of current and future transgenic crops.