Crop Biotech Update

Chinese Scientists Complete First Multi-crop Large-scale Evaluation of GM Ecological Impacts

May 21, 2010

Chinese scientists of the Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) have completed the first multi-crop large-scale evaluation of GM ecological impacts. Results were published in the online version of Science online on May 14, 2010.

Field trials conducted over 10 years in northern China show that mirid bugs (Heteroptera: Miridae) have progressively increased their population levels and acquired pest status in cotton and other crops, in association with a regional increase in Bt cotton adoption. More specifically, the results show that Bt cotton has become a source of mirid bugs and that their population increases are related to drops in insecticide use in this crop. Hence, alterations of pest management regimes in Bt cotton could be responsible for the appearance and subsequent spread of non-target pests at an agro-landscape level.

This study defines the long-term ecological effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton on non-target pests, lays a theoretical basis to clarify the impact mechanism of the transgenic insect resistant crops on the insect population evolution, and has important significance to develop new theory and technology to sustainably control major pests.

The full text of this study is available at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;science.1187881