Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith) represents the first documented case of field-evolved resistance to a genetically engineered crop expressing an insecticidal protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). In this case it was Cry1F-expressing maize (Mycogen 2A517). The ladybird beetle, Coleomegilla maculata, is a common and abundant predator that suppresses pest populations in maize and many other cropping systems. Its larvae and adults are polyphagous, feeding on aphids, thrips, lepidopteran eggs and larvae, as well as plant tissues. Thus, C. maculata may be exposed to Bt proteins expressed in genetically engineered crops by several pathways. Using Cry1F-resistant S. frugiperda larvae as prey, we evaluated the potential impact of Cry1F-expressing maize on several fitness parameters of C. maculata over two generations. Using Cry1F resistant prey removed any potential prey-mediated effects. Duration of larval and pupal stages, adult weight and female fecundity of C. maculata were not different when they were fed resistant S. frugiperda larvae reared on either Bt or control maize leaves during both generations. ELISA and insect-sensitive bioassays showed C. maculata were exposed to bioactive Cry1F protein. The insecticidal protein had no effect on C. maculata larvae, even though larvae contained 20–32 ng of Cry1F/g by fresh weight. Over all, our results demonstrated that the Cry1F protein did not affect important fitness parameters of one of S. frugiperda’s major predators and that Cry1F protein did not accumulate but was strongly diluted when transferred during trophic interactions.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/richard_hellmich/84/