Study: Five Insects Evolve Resistance to Engineered Seeds


by Jack Kaskey
June 10, 2013

Five of 13 major crop pests have evolved resistance to corn and cotton genetically engineered to make their own insecticide, providing lessons for extending the usefulness of such technologies, University of Arizona researchers said in a study.

The increase in resistance, from one insect species in 2005, was expected because the crops are more widely planted, pests have been exposed to the insecticides for more years and monitoring efforts have improved, according to the study published today in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Some technologies have kept resistance at bay for more than than 15 years while others succumb in as few as two years, the study said.

More than 1 billion acres (405 million hectares) worldwide have been planted with crops engineered to produce insecticidal proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a soil bacterium, reducing use of chemical insecticides, the study said…

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