Corn Rootworm Now Resistant to Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Corn
As Ken Roseboro wrote earlier today, Monsanto GM sweet corn is about to be much more ubiquitous in the U.S. Interestingly, this announcement comes at about the same time as the release of a new study out of Iowa State University showing that some organisms — Western corn rootworm — that are supposed to be repelled by this GM corn are becoming resistant to it (and passing on that resistance to their offspring).
From the authors:
We report that fields identified by farmers as having severe rootworm feeding injury to Bt maize contained populations of western corn rootworm that displayed significantly higher survival on Cry3Bb1 maize in laboratory bioassays than did western corn rootworm from fields not associated with such feeding injury. In all cases, fields experiencing severe rootworm feeding contained Cry3Bb1 maize. Interviews with farmers indicated that Cry3Bb1 maize had been grown in those fields for at least three consecutive years. There was a significant positive correlation between the number of years Cry3Bb1 maize had been grown in a field and the survival of rootworm populations on Cry3Bb1 maize in bioassays.
While Monsanto notes that the yields are not yet being significantly affected by such GM-resistant pests, the point is that there is clear development of resistance over time (just a few years even) and, as the authors conclude, “a more integrated approach to the use of Bt crops may be necessary.”
The correlation between severe rootworm injury to crops and use of GM corn is pretty clear. Will it keep the U.S. from planting more and more GM corn? Not unless more people (i.e. you) start speaking up in opposition to GM corn and other crops.
Image via Iowa State University study