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Voracious Rootworms Evolve, Overcoming Genetically Engineered Corn When Farmers Defied Scientists

Science & Tech  (tags: corn, farming, rootworms, GMOs, evolution )

- 1548 days ago -
'A widespread increase in trait failure maybe just around the corner.' In the new paper, Gassmann describes further incidents of Bt resistance in other parts of Iowa.

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Richard S (209)
Monday March 24, 2014, 6:47 pm
A very, very, very unhappy and frightening "we told you so" situation about GMOs.

Past Member (0)
Monday March 24, 2014, 7:45 pm
Yes, exactly, if you don't follow the directions - you don't get the expected results - and problems develop. That's the way most things work and why so many things don't work.

gail mulloy (0)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 8:18 am
Use only corn seed from the Native Americans

Robert O (12)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 8:39 am

Past Member (0)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 8:52 am
The rootworms are scary or the farmers are scary?

. (0)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 9:57 am
Aren't insects amazing?

Jamie Clemons (282)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 1:29 pm
Nature will find a way

Debra Van Way (12)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 1:53 pm
I quit eating corn years ago when I learned most of it was gmo and couldn't find any organic corn to buy. I think everyone responsible for creating, protecting against labeling and growing this crap should be forced to eat all of it as punishment along with all the other gmo crap.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 2:15 pm
Debra, they do!! It's not them who's eating all the organic corn you can't find. Actually, those people who created and grow this *crap* are your friends, relatives, neighbors, church members, bar buddies, the school bus driver's uncle, your hairdresser's brother-in-law.
They's jes good ol' folk ~ doing they job, an' doing it well ~ jes like you an' me!

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 3:24 pm
Nature always finds a way.

Kamia T (89)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 3:29 pm
Most people don't even realize they're eating GMO corn. Over 65% of them would quit eating it if they knew. Why do you think GMO labeling is such a hot item? Because the companies KNOW that if you were informed, you'd use your brain and say no. Mother Nature may do what our wonderful representatives won't by wiping out whole crops - just to make a point. What's the old saw: "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature?"

Nelson Baker (0)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 3:40 pm
We are being poisoned by the chemical companies while the insects adapt and overcome.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 3:42 pm
Is anyone surprised by this? I mean anyone with a brain?

Past Member (0)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 3:51 pm
If people haven't heard about GMs in the media by now they are blind, deaf, and in a nursing home up towards Sedalia.
I might guess most people just aren't that concerned or, if informed, have been sufficiently impressed by the scientific data to have formed a favorable opinion.


Dot A (182)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 4:56 pm
those dumb bunnies thought that they were the only ones who could 'change things up'

human folly

Thomas B (1)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 7:53 pm
It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

Edith B (146)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 10:02 pm
Another good reason for labeling GMO's. Why hasn't the US done this yet? Our reps and senators collect too much money from the factory farms.

Tracy G (3)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 10:42 pm
yup. Because no one saw evolution happening.

Inge B (202)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 12:56 am
Who is fooling who? Perhaps nature uses humans for this purpose!!


Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 4:18 am
Did anyone read the title of this article? *....When Farmers Defied Scientists*
There is nothing in the article that implies any inherent problem with the performance of the GM crops or the integrity and responsibility of the scientists who developed the technique, or the manufacturer of the seeds.
The seed companies and farmers DID NOT FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.
As with DDT, actually developed in Switzerland for the J. R. Geigy firm in 1939, the bird deaths and water contamination were directly caused by using DDT at levels far above Monsanto's dosing recommendations.
As with Agent Orange, which the U. S. military used in a fashion not recommended by the manufacturers.
** U.S. courts have determined that wartime contractors who produced Agent Orange for the government are not responsible for damage claims associated with the chemistry **.
Have you ever NOT followed the directions ~ you know you have! ~ and ended up with a disaster?
Products can't be vilified because of human arrogance and stupidity. Scientists, developers, manufacturers, and distributors can't be vilified and held responsible for human arrogance and stupidity.
Oh, yes, they can. In this day and age, you can do whatever you darn well feel like doing and if something bad comes of it, you get to sue and receive indemnity rewards for being a stupid ass.

Mitchell D (87)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 8:07 am
Edith, the answer to your question lies in how corporate power controls so much of the government agencies assigned to oversee them.
But, on the other hand this whole story must be made up propaganda, the rootworms can't "evolve," that would make all the fundamentalists wrong...and "God would not allow that!"

Barbara, you make a good point.

Dot A (182)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 8:17 am
human folly still applies

whatever we wish to 'control' ->>> human error occurs

plus, the control of nature, if not very carefully studied, may have consequences that cannot be foreseen

science - requires study over time to derive a more clarified interpretation
we have only just begun these 'changes to our food products'
and some of the delicious qualities that I enjoyed in my youth are disappearing

however we proceed, it would be wise to go forward with caution

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 8:41 am
Dot, GM research has been ongoing in over 20 countries by over 100 companies for over 25 years. GM products, including foodstuffs, have been marketed for over 20 years.
Over 2,500 INDEPENDENT studies have been conducted assuring the safety of GMs. The European Commission paid over $274 million to finance 50 INDEPENDENT twenty-five year studies.
Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't strike me as *just begun*.

Dot A (182)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 12:07 pm
I agree, - we are not at the starting line. And your wonderful article keeps us up to date with how much progress we are making, and how much farther we have to go. My statement is only to caution those who may be eager to gain profits from our growing technology and biogenetic engineering. It is a new area of knowledge and can benefit our world, and visa-versa, could also do harm, as is everything at our hands. While GMs may have proof of safety now, - there are many areas of science which have been proven safe in one year, and found harmful in later years. - not to mention, that many of our food items have lost their deliciousness, and perhaps it could be directly related to all the manipulation done by humans that are overly eager - for whatever personal reasons, or personal gain.

Pharmaceuticals began many years ago, and we are constantly hearing about the warnings when new data comes to light.

Thanks for the post, Barbara.
We are living in very interesting times~

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 12:21 pm
I don't eat GMO's....enough with the destructive chemicals. Love Kamia's response, she says it all.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 1:09 pm
Dot, yes, we do have farther to go and we MUST continue in that direction. World population, food shortages unecessary illness and death rates continue to rise while the nay-sayers eschew all progress towards solutions.

Man was given an intellect to be used, I believe, for the betterment of the human condition not to revert to the days of ignorance and superstition.

elderberry C (47)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 1:29 pm
GMO's aren't helping the poor farmers in India...Suggest Barbara D do some international reading/research...before blathering on about "Progress".....

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 2:17 pm
Elderberry, thank you for the suggestion! Actually, I've already done a fair bit of reading:

Miljana Djukanovic (7)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 2:24 pm
Love organic....

Past Member (0)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 2:41 pm
“Resistance was caused because the FARMERS did NOT plant the required refuges and the COMPANIES did NOT enforce the planting of refuges,” said Shields, who has written that “a widespread increase in trait failure may be just around the corner.”

Roger G (154)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 2:46 pm
noted, thanks

Melania P (122)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 3:11 pm
See?? This is what happens when you mess up with nature!!

Patsy Olive (0)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 8:17 pm
Noted & tweeted. By the way, we have Red ants, Crazy ants and some theyI don't even know about.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 8:41 pm
Interesting article and comments. At the rate the Winter is going (there has been no such thing as Spring in my part of the world), so, the next Ice Age is already here and I will never see corn growing in local fields again. If it ever melts, I like organic seeds.

Diane L (110)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 9:38 pm
I see that this article has at least one die-hard, obsessively PRO GMO advocate who is trying to convince everyone of the benefits of GMO'd products. There is another discussion in C2 about this subject and it may be of interest:

Diane L (110)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 9:44 pm
Mitchell D., you've consumed way too much of Monsanto's "Kool-Aid". Yes, organisms do EVOLVE, and it's called EVOLUTION. Not sure if you are a "creationalist" or your post was said "tongue-in-cheek", but whichever, it's certainly not factual.

Kev B (3)
Friday March 28, 2014, 2:06 am
Definitely some kool aid drinking here - but its not on the pro-science side.
If BT corn is so evil, how did evolution conquer it so damned fast? Because it isnt - its natural, moreso than most reeding made by mutation.
What this shows is that we need to LISTEN to science - not ignore it even more.

Diane L (110)
Friday March 28, 2014, 2:28 am
So fast, Kevin? Evolution hasn't conquered anything, it's evolved to deal with what is there in some cases, and in others, species beome extinct. How long do you think it took for antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria and germs in our bodies to develop? We DO need to listen to science, but only to that which is tested over time and PROVEN to be beneficial. I guess the name "Dr. Moreau" might not ring a bell, but he was supposedly a "scientist", wasn't he?

Panchali Yapa (26)
Friday March 28, 2014, 2:36 am
Thank you

Kev B (3)
Friday March 28, 2014, 3:14 am
Therin lies the problem - separating fact from fiction. Dr Moreau is a fiction. So is frankenstein.
REAL science IS testing things over time and proving them. Not just dreaming up fantasies.

As for your other misnomer - Evolution conquers evolutionary pressures. The marketing guys thought they could make this insect extinct with their BT, despite the scientists telling them they couldn't, that they needed to reduce selection pressure or it would adapt. It adapted, with amazing speed, to a natural toxin.
These plants ARE extensively tested over time for safety, unlike random mutations, and cannot reach market if they show any sign of detriment. They have also now been tested for well over a decade in our food supply with no credible sign of ill effect. (reminds me of MSG actually - people STILL think its bad without one blind study being able to find a single case of sensitivity, the only ones that did get a reaction was on the placebo, not the msg).
Meanwhile the Anti-GM lobby just seem to lie left right and center, like the anti-vaxxers. People with no evidence making outrageous claims to make a mint on the conference circuit speaking and selling books full of their FUD. It is easy to forget these people are MUCH more invested in anti-gm than any scientist is invested in promoting it. Scientists can work in other fields - fearmongers cant.
Evidence for prestige vs lies for profit - i know which i am going to pick.

Kev B (3)
Friday March 28, 2014, 3:17 am
Oh, and dianne - while you are spreading junk science - shouldnt you be scared of the EM coming from your computer, and your lights, and the ionising radiation from your walls and food and air? Are you going to tell me measles meningitis is safer than immunisations?
Shouldnt you be scared of all those frequencies in your pc and switch it off?

Diane L (110)
Friday March 28, 2014, 3:43 am
Kevin, you're being ridiculous. If you feel the need to insult me, at least bother to spell the words's "immunize" with a "z". I've had measles, BTW. No vaccine for it when I was a child. You can't even bother to spell my name correctly and it's right there in front of you. BTW, if you bothered to do your homework, while "Dr. Moreau" may have been "science fiction", Dr. Frankenstein was a real person.

Frances D (133)
Friday March 28, 2014, 6:14 am

Past Member (0)
Friday March 28, 2014, 6:27 am
It seems so many people cannot follow instructions. I blame an education system that attempts to get people to think for themselves.

Past Member (0)
Friday March 28, 2014, 10:48 am
Diane, good of you to remind the obsessively anti-GMO readers that people with different points of view do post their politically incorrect comments here and they, I assume you're saying, should not be read or considered.
Mitchell's comment contained words in quotation marks. Maybe too subtle.
Kevin didn't insult you. It's not your place to correct nor does a misspelling change the gist of his comment. Dr. Victor Frankenstein, as referenced by Kevin, was Mary Shelley's fictional charavter.
Do you know of anyone who has achieved bring life to an inanimate object? Except in one highly experimenal and nonconfirmed instance?

It's disheartening that so many obsessives can read an article like this one, not comprehend the information, and twist it to an agenda.


Diane L (110)
Saturday March 29, 2014, 1:28 am
Barbara, that goes both ways. I am not the one so obsessed with countering each and every other person's comment that I don't agree with, but then I am one who agrees that GMO'd products are under a microscope as they SHOULD be as being responsible for genetic mutations and organisms evolving that are not affected by chemicals that supposedly SHOULD affect them, and that can be in a positive way as well as eradicate them.

I've asked you to not address me by name with your sarcasm and trying to ridicule what I say as my P.O.V. just because I disagree with you. You seem incapable of civility or refraining from insulting when someone doesn't agree with you. How sad for a supposedly adult "professional". Are you THAT confident (or convinced) that it's everybody else that cannot comprehend the information here or are "twisting it to their agenda"?

Oh, BTW, I am not referring to the "fictional" Dr. Frankenstein as was fictionalized in either a book or a movie, but the real one that the character was based on. I didn't insult anyone, just corrected what was stated inaccurately, and if I feel insulted by Kevin's ridiculous comments, that is my personal right to feel. Bringing up using electric lights or a computer, getting a measles vaccination vs. consuming GMO'd products is pretty silly and he knew it when he stated it.

Terry H (15)
Saturday March 29, 2014, 2:22 am
Even if the farmers had followed directions this would not have prevented the evolution of pesticide resistance merely slowed it down. In an evolutionary arms race my money's on the insects, they breed faster than genetic engineers ;) Traits such as drought resistance, frost resistance, resistance to soil salinity, alkalinity etc are almost certainly the way to go, if you insist on using an expensive and time consuming procedure like genetic engineering...

Kerrie G (116)
Saturday March 29, 2014, 5:38 am
Noted, thanks.

reft h (66)
Saturday March 29, 2014, 4:49 pm
Keim's excellent and well documented article also describes how the seed companies enforced long legal delays on scientists trying to study rootworm resistance by denying them access to documents and crops. Professor Shields claims entomologists could have discovered this problem much earlier had seed companies cooperated.

“Once we had legal access, resistance was documented in a year,” Shields said. “We were seeing failures earlier but were not allowed to test for resistance.”

There’s a lesson to be learned for future crop traits, Shields said. Rootworm resistance was expected from the outset, but the Bt seed industry, seeking to maximize short-term profits, ignored outside scientists. The next pest-fighting trait “will fall under the same pressure,” said Shields, “and the insect will win. Always bet on the insect if there is not a smart deployment of the trait.”

OMG, when will people learn! Stop fooling around with mother nature in this way.

Rhonda B (99)
Saturday March 29, 2014, 5:58 pm

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 30, 2014, 2:02 am
Noted, Thanks

Colin Hope (243)
Sunday March 30, 2014, 11:59 am
Signed and noted!!

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 30, 2014, 6:01 pm
To whom it may concern:

Mitchell D., you've consumed way too much of Monsanto's "Kool-Aid".

Kevin, you're being ridiculous. If you feel the need to insult me, at least bother to spell the words's "immunize" with a "z". I've had measles

but then I am one who agrees that GMO'd products are under a microscope as they SHOULD be as being responsible for genetic mutations and organisms evolving that are not affected by chemicals that supposedly SHOULD affect them,

Are you THAT confident (or convinced) that it's everybody else that cannot comprehend the information here


Syd H (48)
Monday March 31, 2014, 12:26 am

Hmmm... count me in as a non-GMO supporter. The science says we do not need GMO, and that non-patented non-corporate seeds are quite capable of producing enough food in this world. The main issues to hunger are politics, distribution, poverty, and increasingly the raising of livestock to produce animal products which are not the food that feeds the hungry but does destroy land that would feed them, and diverts food (or land that would grow it or other crops besides animal feed) to the animals.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the GMO bt resistance is that now it's not as viable a tool for organic crops which only used it as needed, could be washed off (as with rain for instance) and did not have it in every cell of the plant which humans eat as well. BT works by exploding the stomachs of insects so what is it doing to our guts when we consume GMO?


Patricia N (9)
Monday March 31, 2014, 1:29 am
We knew there would be problems. Maybe this will wake some people up

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Monday March 31, 2014, 3:35 am
Diane L mentioned: "Kevin, you're being ridiculous. If you feel the need to insult me, at least bother to spell the words's "immunize" with a "z".

Actually, not originally. Immunise is a correct spelling in the English language. It is used by residents of the U.K., and a number of English-speaking nations. Kevin B lives in Australia, so his spelling reflects that. It was the U.S. that altered various spellings in the English language but that doesn't mean that other English-speaking countries use the American variations. Colour, centre, kilometre and a variety of other words are the original English spellings which are used by millions of people and that includes immunisation.

Diane L (110)
Monday March 31, 2014, 4:45 am
Thanks for pointing that out, Dale, and that being the case, I stand corrected for my "correction". I normally will not nit-pik" anybody for "typos" as I make a ton of them myself, and spelling errors are also something I wouldn't go out of my way to point out, except in this case, it annoyed me mostly because of the way I was being "talked down to" and I thought anybody who felt the need to do that should at least spell the words right.:)

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Monday March 31, 2014, 9:09 am
Diane, at least I just noticed that your name was spelled incorrectly as 'dianne' and lowercase as well. (I don't see that spelling very often, except sometimes in V-land.)

No, I usually don't worry much about spelling, since we are not writing dissertations for Stephen Hawking. I remember some grammar mavens scolding various Care2 authors for some minor grammar errors, sometimes I think that the grammar mavens want to send the writers off to have a session with this guy:

Maybe our winter won't end because it got GMO'ed. Lol.

Rhonda B (99)
Monday March 31, 2014, 2:01 pm

Evelyn B (62)
Monday March 31, 2014, 2:30 pm
"But, did seed companies and farmer listen? No! They brazenly defied these reasonable warnings from scientists that they plant up to 50% of their corn crops with non-BT corn. Seed companies even induced the EPA to set the guidelines down between 5% and 20%, and many farmers didn't even follow those reduced guidelines! Another lesson here is we need a more lobby resistant EPA."

The driving problem here is the greed that pushes farmers to ignore the advice to allow a mix of natural & GMO crops .... and also, that the advice is more in order to allow the rootworms to eat the natural crops (bad luck, organic farmers, you're assigned the role of providing fodder for them!). This matches the real problem that I have with GMO in general - short term profits trap people into long term dependence on GMO .... for me, the problem lies in a world where alternatives to GMO crops are getting wiped out, & basically, a handful of people benefit. The freedom of choice between GMO & non-GMO is rapidly vanishing - and while the wind spreads GMO across organic farmers' lands, there's no protection for the organic producers. Indeed, in the US, companies like Monsanto then take them to court if they find any GMO crops in the fields ..... while they lose their organic status through no choice of their own.

Early on, GMO seemed such a gift ... then I saw how poor farmers who received an initial gift of seed following humanitarian crises (drought, famine, floods ...) then found themselves in a debt trap, because they couldn't save seeds from one crop for the next .... and didn't have the funds to buy seed. Now, we are learning of dangers to health from too much GMO.

Personal comments and attacks seem uncalled for - & that includes fussing about differences in spelling (error - or culture?! ). I can always hope that those who support Monsanto & their like will wake up to what I see as a danger to us all - but they probably have reasons & have the right to their beliefs without insults being thrown around. Equally, I have the right to be extremely suspicious of the GMO drive, which I believe is now more rooted in profit interests than genuine commitment to wellbeing of our planet ... though it might not have started that way.

And this article reflects the dangers - because insects have a gift for mutating to cope with threats ... these rootworms are just one more example. Early examples include ants (which rapidly adapted to live in areas devastated by atom bomb trials) & mosquitos (now largely resistent to DDT & to prophylactics such as Nivaquine) "A widespread increase in trait failure maybe just around the corner.'
In the new paper, Gassmann describes further incidents of Bt resistance in other parts of Iowa." - this is a serious problem ...

Charlene Rush (79)
Monday March 31, 2014, 6:21 pm many of us are surprised?

Diane L (110)
Monday March 31, 2014, 9:44 pm
Dale, you noticed exactly the same thing I had, regarding the misspelling of my name. That is basically the only reason I brought up what came across to ME as misspelling a word by the member who had done so. My name was right there in front of him, so no excuse. I assumed he had misspelled a word that seems to have a different spelling in his country, and at least I have apologized for that. I have yet to read an apology for PURPOSELY misspelling my name, which came across to me as an insult, not to mention the other one by another member addressed my way as "to whom it may concern", but that was so childish, it didn't deserve a response at all.

I sent Evelyn a Green Star for trying to get this discussion back on topic and she did so beautifully and with respect to all.

Past Member (0)
Monday March 31, 2014, 9:49 pm
As with all things, the safest label is the "ORGANIC" label.

Gabriele Jefferson (147)
Tuesday April 1, 2014, 2:51 am
noted & shared

Sarah Baker (61)
Tuesday April 1, 2014, 7:57 am
I don't think big Ag is getting it. Nature evolves to overcome, and GMOs are no exception to this rule.

Luis Gerardo (12)
Tuesday April 1, 2014, 12:28 pm

Edgar Z (47)
Tuesday April 1, 2014, 4:32 pm

Debra Tate (17)
Tuesday April 1, 2014, 6:34 pm
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