Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27782120
Heredity (Edinb) 2017 04;118(4):330-339
Since transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins were first released, resistance evolution leading to failure in control of pests populations has been observed in a number of species. Field resistance of the moth Busseola fusca was acknowledged 8 years after Bt maize was introduced in South Africa. Since then, field resistance of this corn borer has been observed at several locations, raising questions about the nature, distribution and dynamics of the resistance trait. Using genetic markers, our study identified four outlier loci clearly associated with resistance. In addition, genetic structure at neutral loci reflected extensive gene flow among populations. A realistically parameterised model suggests that resistance could travel in space at speed of several kilometres a year. Markers at outlier loci delineated a geographic region associated with resistance spread. This was an area of approximately 100 km radius, including the location where resistance was first reported. Controlled crosses corroborated these findings and showed significant differences of progeny survival on Bt plants depending on the origin of the resistant parent. Last, our study suggests diverse resistance mutations, which would explain the widespread occurrence of resistant larvae in Bt fields across the main area of maize production in South Africa.