Biochemistry and genetics of insect resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis

Annu Rev Entomol. 2002:47:501-33. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.47.091201.145234.


Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a valuable source of insecticidal proteins for use in conventional sprayable formulations and in transgenic crops, and it is the most promising alternative to synthetic insecticides. However, evolution of resistance in insect populations is a serious threat to this technology. So far, only one insect species has evolved significant levels of resistance in the field, but laboratory selection experiments have shown the high potential of other species to evolve resistance against Bt. We have reviewed the current knowledge on the biochemical mechanisms and genetics of resistance to Bt products and insecticidal crystal proteins. The understanding of the biochemical and genetic basis of resistance to Bt can help design appropriate management tactics to delay or reduce the evolution of resistance in insect populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis*
  • Coleoptera / genetics
  • Coleoptera / metabolism
  • Diptera / genetics
  • Diptera / metabolism
  • Insecta / genetics*
  • Insecta / metabolism*
  • Insecticide Resistance / genetics
  • Lepidoptera / genetics
  • Lepidoptera / metabolism
  • Pest Control, Biological*