Crop Biotech Update

Study Reveals Strategies to Combat European Corn Borer

March 30, 2012

Scientists at Rothamsted Research in U.K. conducted an investigation on the crucial controls of population cycles of the European corn borer moth (Ostrinia nubilalis), an important corn pest that causes serious damage amounting to a loss of 1 billion dollars per year in America. According to the scientists, understanding the population cycles would help prevent damage to maize crops.

To measure the extent of regime change in the US Corn Belt with different rates of Bt maize adoption, the team analyzed 50 years' data on larval population which include time series from Minnesota (1963-2009) and Wisconsin (1964-2009). Results showed that GM maize significantly decreased the population of the pest when applied over a landscape and in large populations. The results imply that host plant modification is an effective strategy to control pests. The team is currently preparing a comprehensive model to explain the changes in the population cycles over the years.

For more information, read the articles at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01739.x/abstract;jsessionid=8BC12207E62D663B6AEAD00EDD3E4267.d02t03 and http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/food-security/2012/120323-pr-maize-pest-reveals-its-achilles-heel.aspx.