Why 3 countries planted GMO Bt cotton and got ‘wildly different results’

| | July 24, 2019
cotton
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Three countries used the same tactic to fight the same pest on the same crop, but they had wildly different results. Why? A new article published in June in the Journal of Economic Entomology explores this intriguing tale of three countries and the broader lesson it holds for pest management.

Starring in this trilogy is the pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella), a caterpillar pest that can devastate cotton. To fight this invasive insect, millions of growers worldwide have reduced their need for chemical sprays by planting transgenic cotton, called Bt cotton, which was genetically engineered to produce caterpillar-killing proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), says the article’s lead author Bruce Tabashnik, Ph.D., Regents’ professor and head of the University of Arizona (UA) Department of Entomology.

Related article:  Does Consumer Reports mislead readers by promoting Non-GMO Project label?

At first, Bt cotton worked well against pink bollworm in all three countries, but this adaptable pest harbors mutations that confer resistance to Bt toxins. These mutations were rare before Bt cotton was commercialized. However, when two resistant caterpillars develop into moths and mate, their offspring are also resistant. If unchecked, the proportion of resistant insects increases every generation. Conversely, if a resistant moth mates with a normal, toxin-susceptible moth, the progeny remain susceptible.

Read full, original article: Pink Bollworm Versus Bt Cotton: Three Countries, Three Results

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend