Nature fights back - bugs devour GM Monsanto corn with a vengeance by Dquixote1217 ..... Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms
Date: 6/22/2012 12:44:27 AM ( 9 years ago ago)
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Nature fights back - bugs devour GM Monsanto corn with a vengeance
Friday, June 22, 2012 by: Tony Isaacs
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(NaturalNews) Corn genetically engineered by Monsanto to kill western corn rootworm is reportedly being devoured by those pests with a vengeance. Thanks to heavy reliance on the genetically modified (GM) crops, the tiny rootworm pest has overtaken fields, outsmarting the genetic engineering that was supposed to keep it away.
Nature fights back against GM corn
The GM corn, launched in 2003, is engineered to produce a protein, known as Cry3Bb1, derived from a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. In theory, rootworms ingest Bt corn roots and the protein is fatal. However, recent reports indicate that pesticide-resistant rootworms are showing up weeks earlier and more voraciously than ever.
In a research paper published in the July/August/September 2012 issue of the journal GM Crops & Food, scientists reported that samples taken in 2010 indicated that rootworm populations had an eleven-fold survival rate on Cry3Bb1 maize than did control populations. The paper noted that resistant corn rootworm populations first identified in 2009 had three-fold survival rates on Cry3Bb1 maize at that time compared to other populations.
Mike Gray, a professor of entomology with the University of Illinois reported: "We're still early in the growing season, and the adults are about a month ahead of schedule," explained Gray. "I was surprised to see them - and there were a lot."
Reports of increasing rootworm damage began coming in last year after Iowa State University researcher Aaron Gassmann published a study saying that the rootworms in Iowa were becoming resistant to GM corn, creating so-called "superbugs." Farmers in several states found that the western corn rootworm was surviving after ingesting an insecticidal toxin produced by the corn plants.
With both demand and prices high, many farmers are planting corn year after year and on more acres, increasing the possibility that resistance could develop. Typically, corn farmers have had to rotate corn crops to minimize pest pressures. But with Bt corn, many simply planted "corn on corn," year after year. Federal regulators require a 20 percent "refuge" of non-Bt corn near Bt acres, but many growers have ignored that and oversight has been lax.
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