Modeling the dynamics of adaptation to transgenic corn by western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)

David W. Onstad, Charles A. Guse, Joseph L. Spencer, Eli Levine, Michael E. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A simulation model of the population dynamics and genetics of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, was created for a landscape of com, soybean, and other crops. Although the model was created to study a 2-locus problem for beetles having genes for resistance to both crop rotation and transgenic corn, during this first phase of the project, the model was simulated to evaluate only resistance management plans for transgenic corn. Allele expression in the rootworm and toxin dose in the corn plant were the two most important factors affecting resistance development. A dominant resistance allele allowed quick evolution of resistance to transgenic corn, whereas a recessive allele delayed resistance >99 yr. With high dosages of toxin and additive expression, the time required to reach 3% resistance allele frequency ranged from 13 to >99 yr. With additive expression, lower dosages permitted the resistant allele frequency to reach 3% in 2-9 yr with refuges occupying 5-30% of the land. The results were sensitive to delays in emergence by susceptible adults and configuration of the refuge (row strips versus blocks).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-540
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte
  • Host plant resistance
  • Population genetics
  • Resistance management
  • Simulation model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science

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