Resistance found in GM refuges

Wind pollination carries Bt genes from GM maize into neighboring plants

Cathy Holding(
May 10, 2004

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines on the planting of non-transgenic “refuges”—areas in which a non-transgenic crop is grown to allow survival of susceptible insects—adjacent to genetically modified (GM) crops could actually increase the risk of pests acquiring resistance to the GM crops, according to a report published in the May 10 online edition of PNAS.

The results would also “throw away” the idea of using GM and non-GM mixed seeds in developing countries as an alternate solution for land-hungry refuges not available to small-scale Third World farmers, according to Charles F. Chilcutt and Bruce E. Tabashnik, authors of the report. Such a mixed method was thought to create “mini-refuges” among the GM crop.

Along with six non-transgenic commercial hybrids, the authors studied six transgenic hybrids producing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry1-Ab—a benign pesticide that does not affect mammals, birds, or fish, said Chilcutt. “It's a very useful...

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