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How to reduce pest tolerance to insect-resistant GM Bt crops? Breed the plants with conventional ones

| May 10, 2017

Insect pests that are rapidly adapting to genetically engineered crops threaten agriculture worldwide. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals the success of a surprising strategy for countering this problem: Hybridizing genetically engineered cotton with conventional cotton reduced resistance in the pink bollworm, a voracious global pest.

The study is the result of a long-standing collaboration between researchers at the University of Arizona and in China. Over 11 years, they tested more than 66,000 pink bollworm caterpillars from China’s Yangtze River Valley, a vast region of southeastern China that is home to millions of smallholder farmers.

reversingpes
Seed packages containing various cotton seed mixes are for sale in China. Credit: Peng Wan

According to the study’s authors, this is the first reversal of substantial pest resistance to a Bt crop. “We have seen blips of resistance going up and down in a small area,” said senior author Bruce Tabashnik, a Regents’ Professor in the UA’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “But this isn’t a blip. Resistance had increased significantly across an entire region, then it decreased below detection level after this novel strategy was implemented.”

[Read the full study here (behind paywall)]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Reversing pest resistance to biotech cotton: The secret is in the mix

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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