Novel DNA-Based Methods for Detection of Bt-Resistant Fall Armyworms

Thursday, June 21, 2018
A devastating pest, the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), has become a growing threat to the use of transgenic corn technology in the Western Hemisphere and more recently the African continent. The fall armyworm is the insect pest with the highest number of field-evolved practical resistance cases to Bt crops. In fact, Bt-resistant fall armyworms are now in Florida, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Argentina.

University of Tennessee Professor Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes led a team of researchers who identified a particular DNA mutation in a gene that provides fall armyworms with field resistance to Bt corn. The team was also able to track changes in the mutant gene frequency in fall armyworm populations in Puerto Rico, the first successful case of DNA-based detection of insects exhibiting emerging field-evolved practical resistance to a transgenic Bt crop.

NIFA supports this research through the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grant program (BRAG) and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

Read more at the University of Tennessee Ag Research.

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