Effectiveness of the high dose/refuge strategy for managing pest resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) plants expressing one or two toxins

Toxins (Basel). 2012 Oct;4(10):810-35. doi: 10.3390/toxins4100810. Epub 2012 Oct 18.


To delay resistance development to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) plants expressing their own insecticide, the application of the Insect Resistance Management strategy called "High Dose/Refuge Strategy" (HD/R) is recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). This strategy was developed for Bt plants expressing one toxin. Presently, however, new Bt plants that simultaneously express two toxins are on the market. We used a mathematical model to evaluate the efficiency of the HD/R strategy for both these Bt toxins. As the current two-toxin Bt plants do not express two new Cry toxins but reuse one toxin already in use with a one-toxin plant, we estimated the spread of resistance when the resistance alleles are not rare. This study assesses: (i) whether the two toxins have to be present in high concentration, and (ii) the impact of the relative size of the refuge zone on the evolution of resistance and population density. We concluded that for Bt plants expressing one toxin, a high concentration is an essential condition for resistance management. For the pyramided Bt plants, one toxin could be expressed at a low titer if the two toxins are used for the first time, and a small refuge zone is acceptable.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; Bt plants; High dose/Refuge strategy; insect resistance management; population dynamics; population genetics; two toxins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Endotoxins / metabolism*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Hemolysin Proteins / metabolism*
  • Insecta / drug effects
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Insecticide Resistance / genetics
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Larva / genetics
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Population Density


  • Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Endotoxins
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • insecticidal crystal protein, Bacillus Thuringiensis