Fitness costs associated with insect resistance to transgenic crops producing toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) reduce the fitness on non-Bt refuge plants of resistant individuals relative to susceptible individuals. Because costs may vary among host plants, choosing refuge cultivars that increase the dominance or magnitude of costs could help to delay resistance. Specifically, cultivars with high concentrations of toxic phytochemicals could magnify costs. To test this hypothesis, we compared life history traits of three independent sets of pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders), populations on two cotton cultivars that differed in antibiosis against this cotton pest. Each set had an unselected susceptible population, a resistant population derived by selection from the susceptible population, and the F1 progeny of the susceptible and resistant populations. Confirming previous findings with pink bollworm feeding on cotton, costs primarily affected survival and were recessive on both cultivars. The magnitude of the survival cost did not differ between cultivars. Although the experimental results did not reveal differences between cultivars in the magnitude or dominance of costs, modeling results suggest that differences between cultivars in pink bollworm survival could affect resistance evolution. Thus, knowledge of the interaction between host plants and fitness costs associated with resistance to Bt crops could be helpful in guiding the choice of refuge cultivars.
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Vol. 98 • No. 3