Earth-friendly GMOs: How Bt crops eliminated 6 million tons of pesticides

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GMO Bt brinja

[W]hen I first heard about genetic engineering when visiting my eventual graduate school home, I was really excited about the possibility of being able to add specific characteristics to crop plants that would help them to resist insects, diseases and weeds. To me, this was the perfect solution to a crisis in farming that would be beneficial not only to farmers, but also to human health — fewer chemicals, better health.

The first GE plants had new characteristics that made them resistant to environmental conditions. One of the very first improved crops through genetic engineering saved the papaya industry in Hawaii.

Another example of how GE can help the environment (and farmers and consumers) is through control of insects. Organic farmers use a bacterium to combat insects by sprinkling the bacterium on the leaves of their plants. Genetic Engineers took this a few steps further by taking the bacterium’s genes (called Bt genes) that kill insects and putting them directly into the plant ….

Related article:  Newly-discovered microbes could save endangered plants from extinction

[S]cientists can make the plant resistant to their most damaging predators. Bt genes in corn, cotton, soybeans and eggplant (as well as other traits) have removed 6 million tons of pesticides from the environment …. Again, we are all winners — the farmers, the consumers and the environment.

Read full, original article: You may not like GMOs, but our planet sure does

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