Biotech Updates

Entomologists Update Definitions of Terms Related to Resistance to Biotech crops and Pesticides

March 12, 2014

Entomologists from University of Arizona and Michigan State University addressed the current jumble of words relating to pest resistance by coming up with updated definitions for 50 key terms. They published these definitions in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

The authors selected definitions that promote proactive detection and management of resistance, such as resistance defined as "a genetically based decrease in susceptibility to a pesticide." They contrast this with an alternative definition used by some industry scientists that requires "repeated failure of a product to achieve the expected level of control," which generally occurs only after it's too late to respond most effectively.

Confusion in definition is usually associated in defining and managing insect resistance to Bt crops. Bt proteins are not exclusive to genetically engineered crops. Organic growers have used Bt protein in sprays for decades, even before Bt crops became commercially available in 1996.

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