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Crop Biotech Update

Bt Eggplant Pose No Impact to Non-Target Organisms

March 9, 2007

A transgenic eggplant line expressing the Bt toxin Cry3Bb was found to have no effect on nontarget herbivores and insect predators. The conclusion of the group of Salvatore Arpaia was derived after observing arthropod species proliferating on both the transgenic line 9-8 and non transgenic eggplants in Southern Italy for three years.

Arpaia’s group used six 200 m2 plots per year to compare line 9-8 with a non-transgenic isoline. The researchers recorded the number of arthropods by pooling taxonomic groups into larger units that they called ‘organismal taxonomic units’

By using three multivariate methods – correspondence analysis, multi-response permutation procedure (MRPP), and indicator species analysis (ISA) – the researchers found that there was comparable species assemblage between the transgenic and non-transgenic eggplant area. Their results provide useful information to help determine whether the GM crop has any potential ecological impact.

The full paper is freely available at http://docserver.esa.catchword.org/deliver/cw/pdf/esa/freepdfs/0046225x/v36n1s28.pdf