Biotech Updates

Field Study in China Supports Safety of Transgenic Maize on Non-Target Insects

September 7, 2022

A three-year study conducted in Yitong in the Jilin province of China provided more proof of how safe transgenic maize is to non-target insects, as it concluded that two transgenic maize varieties had no significant effect on the arthropod communities in the field.

The transgenic maize varieties DBN9868 and DBN9936 were planted in the field from June to September of each year from 2015 to 2017. DBN9868 variety expresses PAT and EPSPS genes while DBN9936 expresses Cry1Ab and EPSPS genes. Using direct observation and trapping, scientists recorded the different arthropod species that were present in the field. Analyses of the data found that:

  • The arthropod biodiversity difference between transgenic and non-transgenic maize is smaller compared to that of different conventional cultivars.
  • The difference in ground-dwelling arthropod communities was less obvious than those in plant-inhibiting arthropod communities.
  • Lepidoptera insects were not the dominant population in maize fields. Rather, dominant arthropod population varied greatly between years and months.

The results obtained were consistent with previous field studies on the abundance of arthropod species. The scientists concluded that compared with the significant, complex climate effects, the effects of the transgenic maize on arthropod communities in the field appear negligible.

Further details can be found in Plants.

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