Latest Blow to GM Crops - Insects in India resistant to Bt Cotton
Today Science Magazine reported widespread resistance to the Bt toxin in genetically modified cotton in India.
According to the abstract, "Monsanto has revealed that a common insect pest has developed resistance to its flagship genetically modified (GM) product in India. The agricultural biotechnology leader says it "detected unusual survival" of pink bollworms that fed on cotton containing the Cry1Ac gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, which codes for a protein that's toxic to many insect pests. In a statement to Science, Monsanto claims that the finding from western India "is the first case of field-relevant resistance to Cry1Ac products, anywhere in the world."
Other independent researchers have disputed the claim that this is the first instance, with earlier reports cropping up in South Africa and the United States.
Regardless, the admission is a major blow for Monsanto and the GM industry. The Bt cotton varieties under fire are being sold as a technology that can help fight poverty and cut pesticide use. Neither claim so far has been substantiated.
The full article is available at www.sciencemag.org (Requires subscription)