Bt Maize Expressing a Fusion Gene Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac Does Not Harm Pollen Feeders

Hainan University scientists and partners assessed the possible impact of Bt maize pollen with Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac fusion on pollen-feeding non-target species through laboratory feeding assays. The observed species include ladybird (Propylea japonica), green lacewing (Chrysoperla nipponensis), and honey bee (Apis mellifera), which are common insects feeding on pollens of several crops. When they feed on Bt crops, they can be directly exposed to Cry proteins. Thus, these insects are often used in testing the effect of Bt plants on non-target organisms.

Results of the study showed that pupation rate and male adult fresh weight of ladybird were significantly increased when exposed to Bt maize pollen but other life-table parameters such as survival, pre-oviposition period, and fecundity were not affected. For green lacewing and honey bee, no significant differences were found in the life-table parameters of those exposed to non-Bt and Bt maize pollen.

The findings suggest that the three common pollen-feeders are not affected by Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac protein. Therefore, Bt maize will not pose a risk to these non-target organisms.

Read the research article in Toxins.

This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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