Evolutionary trade-offs of insect resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis crops: Fitness cost affecting paternity

Dawn M. Higginson*, Shai Morin, Megan E. Nyboer, Robert W. Biggs, Bruce E. Tabashnik, Yves Carrière

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Evolution of resistance to insecticides provides a useful model for examining fitness trade-offs associated with adaptation to stress. Here, we examined male reproductive costs in pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella) resistant to an insecticidal protein of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) produced by transgenic cotton, using contrasts between two pairs of related susceptible and resistant strains. Without competition for access to females, no costs affecting reproductive success of resistant males were observed. Resistant and susceptible males had similar mating frequency and fertility. Additionally, fecundity of females mated to resistant and susceptible males was comparable. In competition for matings with virgin females, resistant and susceptible males had comparable success in one strain, whereas susceptible males tended to mate more often than resistant males in the other. However, irrespective of strain origin, resistant males that mated first sired significantly less offspring than susceptible males that mated first. The reduced first-male paternity in resistant males may involve reduced sperm precedence caused by mutations in a cadherin gene linked with resistance to Bt cotton.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)915-920
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Bt resistance
  • Cadherin
  • Fitness cost
  • Pectinophora gossypiella
  • Sperm precedence


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