Cotton Bollworm Shown To Resist Bt Produced By Transgenic Cotton

As long theorized, evidence has emerged that too extensive planting of Bt producing cotton in one setting can result in resistance to Bt by the ubiquitous Boll Worm. So how to mitigate against this? Pay some farmers not to use Bt modified crop seed? Encourage organic cotton farming round and about the Monsanto style plots? The solution seems like it would be a long term challenge if the economic benefits of using Bt producing cotton are high for the farmers.

University of Arizona entomologists looked at data from six experiments to monitor pests in fields sown with transgenic cotton and corn in Australia, China, Spain and the United States.

They found evidence of genetic mutation among bollworms (Helicoverpa zea) in a dozen cotton fields sown in Mississippi and Arkansas between 2003 and 2006...The mutation entails a slight change in the bollworm's DNA to help it resist a toxin that the cotton plant exudes thanks to a gene inserted by biotechnologists.

These GM toxins are produced in nature by a widespread bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, which goes by the abbreviation Bt. The type of Bt toxin to which these bollworms have become resistant is called Cry1Ac.

Via::TerraDaily, "First evidence emerges of pest resistance to GM crops: scientists" Image credit::Wikipedia entry for Helicoverpa zea

Tags: Cotton | GMO

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