THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear Friends and colleagues,
RE: GM Insecticidal Crops and Natural Enemies
A recent study has reviewed the data from published and peer reviewed literature about the impact of insecticidal GM plants on arthropod natural enemies in laboratory experiments. Significantly more non-neutral responses were observed than expected at random in 75% of the comparisons of natural enemy groups and response classes, indicating that Cry toxins and proteinase inhibitors often have non-neutral effects on natural enemies. While GM plants can have a positive effect on natural enemies, significant negative effects were more common.
Moreover, although there is now data on 48 natural enemies, the existing data on the effects of transgenic insecticidal proteins on natural enemies are still incomplete, with respect to the toxins studied, the species of natural enemies evaluated, and the geographic distribution of the studies. As such, the authors say “it is clear that conclusions that Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and PI [proteinase inhibitors] transgene products have ‘no harm’ to natural enemies are currently overgeneralized and premature."
The review is published in Environmental Entomology. The abstract is attached below. The full paper is available for download at http://esa.publisher.ingentaconnect.com/content/esa/envent/2009/00000038/00000002/art00001
Transgenic Insecticidal Crops and Natural Enemies: A Detailed Review of Laboratory Studies
GABOR L. LO¨ VEI (1,2) DAVID A. ANDOW (2,3) AND SALVATORE ARPAIA (4)
Environ. Entomol. 38(2): 293-306 (2009)
(1) Corresponding author: Department of Integrated Pest Management, Aarhus University, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Flakkebjerg Research Centre, DK-4200 Slagelse, Denmark (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
(2) These authors contributed equally to this paper.
(3) Department of Entomology and Center for Community Genetics, University of Minnesota , St. Paul , MN 55108 .
(4) ENEA National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Environment, Research Centre Trisaia, 1-75026 Rotondella , Italy.
ABSTRACT This review uses a data-driven, quantitative method to summarize the published, peer-reviewed literature about the impact of genetically modified (GM) plants on arthropod natural enemies in laboratory experiments. The method is similar to meta-analysis, and, in contrast to a simple author-vote counting method used by several earlier reviews, gives an objective, data-driven summary of existing knowledge about these effects. Significantly more non-neutral responses were observed than expected at random in 75% of the comparisons of natural enemy groups and response classes.
These observations indicate that Cry toxins and proteinase inhibitors often have non-neutral effects on natural enemies. This synthesis identifies a continued bias toward studies on a few predator species, especially the green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea Stephens, which may be more sensitive to GM insecticidal plants (16.8% of the quantified parameter responses were significantly negative) than predators in general (10.9% significantly negative effects without C. carnea). Parasitoids were more susceptible than predators to the effects of both Cry toxins and proteinase inhibitors, with fewer positive effects (18.0%, significant and nonsignificant positive effects combined) than negative ones (66.1%, significant and nonsignificant negative effects combined). GM plants can have a positive effect on natural enemies (4.8% of responses were significantly positive), although significant negative (21.2%) effects were more common. Although there are data on 48 natural enemy species, the database is still far from adequate to predict the effect of a Bt toxin or proteinase inhibitor on natural enemies.
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