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Pest adapts to GM crops

Pest adapts to GM crops
FEBRUARY 9, 2008óBollworms in cotton fields in Mississippi and Arkansas have genetically mutated to resist a toxin biotechnologists inserted into cotton crops, researchers at the University of Arizona found.

In a study of six pests in genetically modified cotton and corn in Australia, China, Spain and the United States, researchers discovered genetic adaptation in only the bollworms in a dozen fields in the United States.

The toxin inserted into the cotton plant is a common bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt. The bollworms have become resistant to the Bt toxin strain Cry1Ac.

“What we’re seeing is evolution in action,” lead researcher Bruce Tabashnik told Terra Daily. “This is the first documented case of field-evolved resistance to a Bt crop.”

Published in the British journal Nature Biotechnology, the study found that the other five pests studied continue to be susceptible to Bt.

“The resistance occurred in one particular pest in one part of the U.S.,” Tabashnik told Terra Daily. “The other major pests attacking Bt crops have not evolved resistance. And even most bollworm populations have not evolved resistance.”

Bollworm evolution happened more rapidly in fields where there were few or no non-genetically modified plants nearby. Without non-resistant bollworms in the area, the opportunities for a resistant bollworms to mate with a non-resistant bollworms to create hybrid, non-resistant bollworms were diminished, thus speeding adaptation to the toxin among bollworms. In most pests, both parents must be resistant to the toxin in order for the offspring to inherit resistance.

Read more: Nature, Natural Pest Control, , , , ,

By Care2 editorial staff

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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6:50AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012


7:32AM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

Do not fight nature work with it in a natural way, also stop the chemical warfare, nature will bite back sooner or later.

10:27AM PDT on May 28, 2012


7:20AM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

It's really amazing how quickly nature adapts. I saw a documentary where they said the same thing happened with potato crop pests. It doesn't take very long. People think they can conquer nature but they can't. We need to coexist with it.

6:28PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

No surprise with this one.

1:09AM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Thanks for the article.

1:50AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Nature will fight back against our interference!

10:18AM PST on Feb 25, 2011

Well people are still hungry and cold, in fact rising and now nature the ultimate bio-engineer has gotten around our own ignorant tampering. Guess this idea was a failure. Time to stop Genetically Altering things and better start nurturing. It was a good run though.

4:55AM PST on Feb 25, 2011

Thanks for the info.

6:17PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

Uh-oh. Thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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I'd like to meet one person who has adhered to ALL (accumulation of articles) of the advice given he…

Great article but I hate Bill Nye! He's in Monsanto's pocket!

Much thanks for this post, I'm hearing all this for the first time.

Wonderful thanks for sharing.


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