Biotech Updates

Scientists Assess the Effects of GM Glyphosate-tolerant Soybeans on Field Arthropods

February 11, 2011

Arthropod populations have been used in previous studies to evaluate the effect of GM herbicide tolerant (GMHT) crops on farmland biodiversity. Since results of those studies cannot be used to generalize the environmental impact of GM organisms, scientists were encouraged to conduct scientific research to analyze various cases. Osamu Imura of the National Agriculture and Food Organization in Japan and colleagues assessed the effect of two GMHT soybean varieties and a Japanese conventional soybean variety on arthropods under field conditions with glyphosate and conventional weed control for two years.

Results showed that the conventional varieties exhibited higher plant height and dry weight, while the GM varieties produced more pods. Arthropods belonging to nine different taxonomic orders (Araneae, Acari, Thysanoptera, Homoptera, Heteroptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, and Hymenoptera) were observed in both plants. There is no significant difference in arthropod incidence in the leaves and stems of GM and conventional varieties. Incidence of Thysanoptera and total incidence of all orders are higher in the GM variety during the second year. Weed control regimes had no significant effect on the arthropod incidence, however, the glyphosate weed control affected the abundance of arthropods between the rows of plants.

Read the abstract of this study at