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      Areawide suppression of European corn borer with Bt maize reaps savings to non-Bt maize growers.

      Science (New York, N.Y.)

      growth & development, genetics, Zea mays, Population Dynamics, Population Density, Plants, Genetically Modified, methods, economics, Pest Control, Biological, physiology, Moths, Midwestern United States, Insecticide Resistance, Hemolysin Proteins, Endotoxins, Crops, Agricultural, Bacterial Proteins, Bacillus thuringiensis, Animals

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          Abstract

          Transgenic maize engineered to express insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has become widely adopted in U.S. agriculture. In 2009, Bt maize was planted on more than 22.2 million hectares, constituting 63% of the U.S. crop. Using statistical analysis of per capita growth rate estimates, we found that areawide suppression of the primary pest Ostrinia nubilalis (European corn borer) is associated with Bt maize use. Cumulative benefits over 14 years are an estimated $3.2 billion for maize growers in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, with more than $2.4 billion of this total accruing to non-Bt maize growers. Comparable estimates for Iowa and Nebraska are $3.6 billion in total, with $1.9 billion for non-Bt maize growers. These results affirm theoretical predictions of pest population suppression and highlight economic incentives for growers to maintain non-Bt maize refugia for sustainable insect resistance management.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Analytical Population Dynamics

           T. Royama (1992)
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            On the regulation of populations of mammals, birds, fish, and insects.

            A key unresolved question in population ecology concerns the relationship between a population's size and its growth rate. We estimated this relationship for 1780 time series of mammals, birds, fish, and insects. We found that rates of population growth are high at low population densities but, contrary to previous predictions, decline rapidly with increasing population size and then flatten out, for all four taxa. This produces a strongly concave relationship between a population's growth rate and its size. These findings have fundamental implications for our understanding of animals' lives, suggesting in particular that many animals in these taxa will be found living at densities above the carrying capacity of their environments.
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              Managing the evolution of insect resistance to transgenic plants.

               D Andow,  A Alstad (1995)
              The evolution of resistance in pests such as the European corn borer will imperil transgenic maize varieties that express insecticidal crystal proteins of Bacillus thuringiensis. Patchworks of treated and untreated fields can delay the evolution of pesticide resistance, but the untreated refuge fields are likely to sustain heavy damage. A strategy that exploits corn borer preferences and movements can eliminate this problem. Computer simulation indicates that this approach can delay the evolution of resistance and reduce insect damage in the untreated fields of a patchwork planting regime.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                20929774
                10.1126/science.1190242

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