Oops! GMO Cotton Loses Its Natural Defenses Against Pests
by Shicana Allen
The aphid and other crop-eating insect pests are having a “field day” (pun intended) now that their main predators have been removed from the ecological food chain. After being genetically modified with new defense mechanisms, crops such as Bt cotton are showing considerably weaker biological defenses against secondary pests. According to new research just published by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Bt cotton crop—now armed with an internal poison to ward off its number one enemy, the voracious caterpillar—is no longer well-equipped to defend itself against all those things the caterpillars use to munch on. With this primary predator all but eradicated from the cotton-farming ecosystem, new pests such as the aphid have taken their place, causing a new, potentially more dangerous, threat to the success of agriculture. Herein demonstrates the collateral damage of GMO technology: Pull one string in the tapestry of nature and the entire fabric may unravel.
Shicana Allen has been a health, environmental, and food safety advocate, writer, and public speaker for over 20 years
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