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General Information

Document type
  • Peer-reviewed journal article
GE organism
  • cotton
  • corn
GE trait
  • insect resistance
  • USA


  • positive effect

Insect resistance to Bt crops: evidence versus theory Review Article

Tabashnik, BE; Gassmann, AJ; Crowder, DW; Carriére, Y
Nature Biotechnology. 2008 February. 26(2):199-202

Link to full text (journal may charge for access)

PMID: 18259177 DOI: 10.1038/nbt1382 ISSN: 1087-0156


Evolution of insect resistance threatens the continued success of transgenic crops producing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins that kill pests. The approach used most widely to delay insect resistance to Bt crops is the refuge strategy, which requires refuges of host plants without Bt toxins near Bt crops to promote survival of susceptible pests. However, large-scale tests of the refuge strategy have been problematic. Analysis of more than a decade of global monitoring data reveals that the frequency of resistance alleles has increased substantially in some field populations of Helicoverpa zea, but not in five other major pests in Australia, China, Spain and the United States. The resistance of H. zea to Bt toxin Cry1Ac in transgenic cotton has not caused widespread crop failures, in part because other tactics augment control of this pest. The field outcomes documented with monitoring data are consistent with the theory underlying the refuge strategy, suggesting that refuges have helped to delay resistance.


resistance, BT, refuge


Funding source
  • National Research Initiative
  • Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
  • United States Department of Agriculture
Funding country
  • United States
Funding type
  • government

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Cite this study


Tabashnik, BE, AJ Gassmann, DW Crowder, Y Carriére. "Insect resistance to Bt crops: evidence versus theory." Nature Biotechnology 26.2 (2008): 199-202. Web. 7 Dec. 2023.


Tabashnik, BE., Gassmann, AJ., Crowder, DW., Carriére, Y. (2008). Insect resistance to Bt crops: evidence versus theory. Nature Biotechnology, 26(2), 199-202. doi:10.1038/nbt1382

Please verify citations before use, citations are automatically generated based on information stored within the GENERA database and therefore may or may not be correct.