Mortality impact of MON863 transgenic maize roots on western corn rootworm larvae in the field


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Bruce Hibbard (corresponding author), Division of Plant Science, University of Missouri, 205 Curtis Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, USA. E-mail:


Mortality of western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) due to feeding on MON863 transgenic maize (Zea mays L.) expressing the Cry3Bb1 protein was evaluated at three Missouri sites in both 2003 and 2004 and at one site each in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa in 2004. To do this, survivorship relative to survivorship on isoline maize (i.e. the same genetic background, but without Cry3Bb1) was evaluated. Comparisons were made using low (1650–2500 eggs/m) and high (3300–3500 eggs/m) western corn rootworm egg densities. Significantly fewer beetles were recovered from MON863 than from isoline maize. Emergence from MON863 as a percentage of viable eggs ranged from 0.02% to 0.10%, whereas percentage emergence from isoline maize ranged from 1.09% to 7.14%. Survivorship on MON863 relative to survivorship on isoline averaged 1.51% when averaged across all environments and both years, so mortality because of the Cry3Bb1 protein averaged 98.49%. The average time delay to 50% cumulative beetle emergence from MON863 was 18.3 days later than from isoline maize. Females comprised 56% and 71% of total beetles recovered from MON863 in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Results are discussed in relation to insect resistance management (IRM) of western corn rootworm.