Defining terms for proactive management of resistance to Bt crops and pesticides

Bruce E Tabashnik, David Mota-Sanchez, Mark E. Whalon, Robert M. Hollingworth, Yves Carriere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

107 Scopus citations


Evolution of pest resistance to pesticides is an urgent global problem with resistance recorded in at least 954 species of pests, including 546 arthropods, 218 weeds, and 190 plant pathogens. To facilitate understanding and management of resistance, we provide definitions of 50 key terms related to resistance. We confirm the broad, long-standing definition of resistance, which is a genetically based decrease in susceptibility to a pesticide, and the definition of "field-evolved resistance," which is a genetically based decrease in susceptibility to a pesticide in a population caused by exposure to the pesticide in the field. The impact of field-evolved resistance on pest control can vary from none to severe. We define "practical resistance" as field-evolved resistance that reduces pesticide efficacy and has practical consequences for pest control. Recognizing that resistance is not "all or none" and that intermediate levels of resistance can have a continuum of effects on pest control, we describe five categories of field-evolved resistance and use them to classify 13 cases of field-evolved resistance to five Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins in transgenic corn and cotton based on monitoring data from five continents for nine major pest species. We urge researchers to publish and analyze their resistance monitoring data in conjunction with data on management practices to accelerate progress in determining which actions will be most useful in response to specific data on the magnitude, distribution, and impact of resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-507
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Economic Entomology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Bacillus thuringiensis
  • Evolution
  • Genetically engineered crop
  • Peld-evolved resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science

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