A strategy widely used to prevent pests from quickly adapting to crop-protecting toxins may fail in some cases unless better preventive actions are taken, suggests new research by University of Arizona entomologists published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Corn and cotton have been genetically modified to produce pest-killing proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt for short. Compared with typical insecticide sprays, the Bt toxins produced by genetically engineered crops are much safer for people and the environment, explained … a professor of entomology in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who led the study.
Although Bt crops have helped to reduce insecticide sprays, boost crop yields and increase farmer profits, their benefits will be short-lived if pests adapt rapidly, said Bruce Tabashnik, a co-author of the study and head of the UA department of entomology. …
It is a weird system we have where a small group (company) is allowed to experiment with the US food supply in this way, without long term proven safety and effectiveness studies independently verified. Short-lived benefits aren’t worth it in the long run, but we are still learning that as a species.