GMO corn could be key to controlling invasive fall armyworm pest in Asia

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Fall armyworm. Photo: Alon Skuy/timeslive
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[T]he fall armyworm, an invasive crop pest …. has now been officially confirmed for the first time on the Asian continent …. The pest, which is a voracious eater of maize along with at least 80 other plant species, was found on a maize plant in Karnataka [in India] and according to a pest alert from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has already been shown to have a 70 percent infestation rate there.

[T]here is very little hope of eradication, only control. In Africa, farmers used chemical pesticides to try and combat the fall armyworm, but the pesticides were not generally very effective and have negative repercussions when it comes to environmental and human health ….

Related article:  Federal regulators ask biotech experts if GMO trees should be deployed to save 'dying' US forests

Biological control, such as the rearing and release of natural enemies, is also being explored in Africa and will likely be in Asia as well …. finding local predators of the fall armyworm in Asia will be an important step.

[G]enetically modified corn is a common tool in the fight to control the pest [in America]. And Asia, unlike Africa, widely uses genetically modified crops …. Asia’s broader acceptance of these crops could allow for the adoption of transgenic resistant maize varieties in hopes of controlling fall armyworm.

Read full, original article: Fall Armyworm’s Arrival in India Sparks Fear of its Spread Through Asia

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