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Crop Biotech Update

Bt Rice Does Not Impact Spider's Predation and Fitness

April 20, 2012

The commercial release of Bt rice with resistance to insects has been a subject of debate, primarily because of the concern about its safety for non-target organism such as predators and parasitoids that are ecologically relevant because of their role in controlling insect pests. Zhehiang University scientist Jun-Ce Tian and colleagues conducted a tritrophic bioassay to identify the potential impact of Cry1Ab-expressing rice on predaceous ground spider (Pardosa pseudoannulata) that consumed Bt rice-fed brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens) nymphs. The researchers found that there was no significant difference in the survival, development time, and fecundity of the spiders that consumed Bt rice-fed nymphs, and non-Bt rice-fed nymphs.

Further analysis on the spider guts and the functional response trial showed that predation of the ground spiders was not different in Bt rice and non-Bt rice fields.

The researchers concluded that the Bt rice lines used in the study had no adverse effects on the survival, developmental time, and fecundity of ground spider both in the laboratory and in the field.

Read the open-access article at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0035164.