Transgenic insecticidal Bt crops are being increasingly used worldwide, and concern is increasing about resistance and their effects on nontarget organisms. The toxin acts as a weak pesticide and, hence, the effects are subtler than those of chemical biocides. However, the toxin is ever present, but concentrations vary with age of plant and plant subunit, causing varying lethal and sublethal effects on pest survival, developmental time, and fecundity. Refuges for susceptibility to Bt occur spatially in non-Bt hosts and temporally within the crop because of time-varying toxicity and pest tolerance. Natural enemies feeding on Bt-intoxicated prey may have reduced longevity and, likely, fecundity that reduces their efficacy in controlling pest populations, and pest resurgence and secondary pest outbreaks may occur that may require insecticide use. System modeling is proposed as an efficient tool for examining the use of extant and future biotechnologies in pest control.
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