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E-M:/ Michigan Scientists Shocked - Bt Crops Apparently Help Pest InsectsFlourish by Unexpected Pathway.
- Subject: E-M:/ Michigan Scientists Shocked - Bt Crops Apparently Help Pest InsectsFlourish by Unexpected Pathway.
- From: Praxis <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 03 Apr 2003 10:11:50 -0500
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- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
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Michigan Farmers Guided Towards High Risk Technology and Corporate Ownership
of the Worlds Food Supply.
What part of this is going to help the farmer, the public, the environment
or Michigan's economy?
So called Bt crops, corn, potatoes, etc. being grown in Michigan, plants
where every cell of the plant including the edible seed, fruit or tuber produces
the pesticidal protein genetically engineered into these crops. These crops
are being heavily promoted by Michigan State University, MSU Extension and
others. Now, another problem has to be added to a long and growing list
of serious environmental problems beyond genetic pollution of wild plants.
Pollen from Bt crops inhaled by the public may lead to increased allergenic
responses, these crops toxify soil by toxic Bt proteins produced by root
exudates binding to clay and persisting, and the contamination of organic
crops by wind or bees causing the loss of organic standing is still an unresolved
issue in the State of Michigan. MSU/MDA officials work to avoid discussing
this topic and doing unrequested jobs such as repressing biological control
companies, while organic farmers are left holding the bag and transnational
genetic engineering companies inherit the wind on Michigan farms where their
contamination of your crop gives them the right to sue you
for loss or their intellectual property! Neat trick, if your not the one
getting sued. Now, new research shows these man made crops may also benefit
the growth of the pest insects along with previous research that shows
that subleathal doses Bt toxins protects pest insects from parisitoids and
predators by interfering with the development of the biological control organisms!
2723 116th Avenue
Allegan, MI 49010 269-673-2793
GM 'Pest-Killing' Crops
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent - UK
Genetically modified crops specially engineered to kill pests in fact
nourish them, startling new research has revealed.
The research, "which has taken even the most ardent opponents of GM
crops by surprise ," radically undermines one of the key benefits
claimed for them. And it suggests that they may be an even greater
threat to organic farming than has been envisaged.
It strikes at the heart of one of the main lines of current genetic
engineering in agriculture: breeding crops that come equipped with
their own pesticide.
Biotech companies have added genes from a naturally occurring poison,
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is widely used as a pesticide by
organic farmers. The engineered crops have spread fast. The amount of
land planted with them worldwide grew more than 25-fold ,YÏ from four
million acres in 1996 to well over 100 million acres (44.2m hectares)
in 2000 ,YÏ and the global market is expected to be worth $25bn
(¨£16bn) by 2010.
Drawbacks have already emerged, with pests becoming resistant to the
toxin. Environmentalists say that resistance develops all the faster
because the insects are constantly exposed to it in the plants, rather
than being subject to occasional spraying.
But the new research ,YÏ by scientists at Imperial College London and
the Universidad Simon Rodrigues in Caracas, Venezuela ,YÏ adds an
alarming new twist, suggesting that pests can actually use the poison
as a food and that the crops, rather than automatically controlling
them, can actually help them to thrive.
They fed resistant larvae of the diamondback moth ,YÏ an increasingly
troublesome pest in the southern US and in the tropics ,YÏ on normal
cabbage leaves and ones that had been treated with a Bt toxin. The
larvae eating the treated leaves grew much faster and bigger ,YÏ with a
56 per cent higher growth rate.
They found that the larvae "are able to digest and utilise" the toxin
and may be using it as a "supplementary food", adding that the presence
of the poison "could have modified the nutritional balance in plants"
And they conclude: "Bt transgenic crops could therefore
unanticipated nutritionally favourable effects, increasing the fitness
of resistant populations."
Pete Riley, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said last night:
"This is just another example of the unexpected harmful
effects of GM
"If Friends of the Earth had come up with the suggestion that crops
engineered to kill pests could make them bigger and healthier instead,
we would have been laughed out of court.
"It destroys the industry's entire case that insect-resistant GM crops
can have anything to do with sustainable farming."
Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, said it showed that
GM crops posed an even "worse threat to organic farming
previously been imagined". Breeding resistance to the Bt insecticide
sometimes used by organic farmers was bad enough, but problems would
become even greater if pests treated it as "a high-protein diet".