Biotech Updates

Refuge-in-a bag Product, a Better Stewardship Option

April 20, 2011

Refuge-in-a-bag product is the current strategy to delay build-up of insect resistance to the Bt protein. This is an important strategy since about 65% of the planted corn in the US is Bt hybrid. The product contains 90 percent Bt corn seed with 10 percent non-Bt ‘refuge' bag. Farmers can plant all the seed together so that in the field, refuge corn is interspersed in the field with Bt corn.

Christian Krupke, a Purdue University entomologist, said "Refuge corn dilutes the genetic traits that made them survive with susceptible ones from insects that fed on non-Bt corn and, therefore, should be susceptible." He added that "The other advantages with having Bt and refuge plants mixed together in a field is that you get the rootworm beetles closer together, which facilitates matings between beetles that might be Bt resistant and those that are susceptible from the refuge."

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