Saturday, November 25, 2017
Insects are Increasingly Evolving Resistance to Genetically Modified Crops
The insect pictured below is known as the corn earworm or the cotton bollworm. It has evolved resistance to four proteins engineered in genetically modified crops that are supposed to keep this insect among others away from the crops. According to a new study, resistance to modified crops is on a steady rise. In 2005, there were only three reports of any type of insect resistance to the modified crops. As of 2016, there were 16 reports of resistance. In those recent cases, it took only 5 years for resistance to develop in the insects. The crops are modified to express certain genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. The genes expressed are a type of insecticide and when insects consume the plant, they are poisoned. Reviews of past literature all show that resistance is growing not only to modified crops, but to chemical agents. With more research however, new techniques will arise to control these pests. Hopefully new research will limit chemical control and emphasize ways that will benefit not only humans, but the environment.