Characterizing laboratory colonies of western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) selected for survival on maize containing event DAS-59122-7


Steve A. Lefko (corresponding author), Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, Rt. 141 and Henry Clay Road, Wilmington, DE 19880-0353, USA.


Event DAS-59122-7 is a novel transgenic trait designed to protect the roots and yield potential of maize from the insect pest corn rootworm Diabrotica spp. (Col.: Chrysomelidae). The increased pest status of corn rootworm, exceptional efficacy of this trait, and anticipated increases in farm efficiency and grower and environmental safety will drive adoption of this trait. Strong grower acceptance of this trait highlights the importance of science-based and practical resistance management strategies. A non-diapause trait was introgressed into two laboratory colonies of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera collected from geographically distinct locations: Rochelle, IL and York, NE. Both colonies were divided and each reared on maize containing event DAS-59122-7 or its near isoline. Selected and unselected colonies were evaluated for phenotypic change in larval development, injury potential and survival to adulthood during 10 and 11 generations. The F1 generation of both selected colonies displayed increased larval development, survivorship and measurable, but economically insignificant increases in injury potential on DAS-59122-7 maize. Survival rates of 0.4 and 1.3% in F1 generations of both selected colonies corroborate field estimates of survival on DAS-59122-7 maize. Over later generations, total phenotypic variation declined gradually and irregularly. Despite the absence of random mating, the tolerance trait could not be fixed in either population after 10 or 11 generations of selection. An allele conferring major resistance to DAS-59122-7 was not identified in either selected colony. The assessment also concluded that major resistance gene(s) are rare in populations of D. v. virgifera in the United States, and that a minor trait(s) conferring a low level of survival on DAS-59122-7 maize was present. The tolerance trait identified in this study was considered minor with respect to its impact on DAS-59122-7 maize efficacy, and the role this trait may play in total effective refuge for major resistance genes with recessive inheritance is the basis of future work.