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.

1 comment:

  1. I think insects gaining a resistance to genetically modified crops will always be an issue. As organisms, insects are constantly evolving, even if it may seem like it happens at a slow rate. Where one insect might die off from eating the poisonous crop, another with a mutation might survive thus creating more resistant insects. Creating genetically modified crops to help rid insects from eating the crop will continue to be a hard task, as the insects will manage to become resistant given time.