The natural refuge policy for Bt cotton (Gossypium L.) in Pakistan – a situation analysis

Muhammad Sajjad Ali


Bt cotton (event Cry1Ac) was formally commercialized in Pakistan in 2010. However, there has been an increasing trend of planting unauthorized Bt cotton germplasm in farmers' fields since 2003 with a high rate of adoption in the core cotton areas especially in the province Punjab. The transgenic cotton technology has provided the growers with substantial economic benefits and has reduced their dependence on pesticides for pest control, especially against Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner). However, keeping in view the capacity of this insect to develop resistance against novel chemical formulations, it is easily speculated that Bt toxin, too, is no exception. Refuge crop policy for mono transgenic crop events has helped in delaying the rate of resistance evolution in the target pests. Thus, in Pakistan, where planting of structured refuge crops along Bt cotton fields is not mandatory, the effectiveness and durability of Bt cotton technology may decrease due to a number of factors which are discussed in this review.


Gossypium hirsutum L.; Bt cotton; cotton zone; natural refuge; Helicoverpa armigera; resistance evolution

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