Pest developing resistance to phased out variety of GMO Bt corn, cotton

A new study from North Carolina State University and Clemson University finds the toxin in a widely used genetically modified (GM) crop is having little impact on the crop pest corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) — which is consistent with predictions made almost 20 years ago that were largely ignored. The study may be a signal to pay closer attention to warning signs about the development of resistance in agricultural pests to GM crops.

At issue is genetically engineered corn that produces a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein which, in turn produces a toxin called Cry1Ab. This GM corn was originally designed to address a pest called the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) and went on the market in 1996.

In the late 1990s, scientists found that Cry1Ab was also fairly affective against H. zea. But the scientists also predicted that enough H. zea were surviving to lead to the species developing resistance to Cry1Ab.

“This finding is of limited economic impact at the moment,” Dominic Reisig, an associate professor of entomology at NC State says. “Because agriculture companies have already developed new, more effective Bt toxins for use against H. zea.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Field study shows how a GM crop can have diminishing success at fighting off insect pest

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