Monsanto’s corn is toppling over

February 23, 2012

Food, Genetically modified

2011 — the year that pests officially developed resistance to Monsanto’s genetically engineered, bug-killing corn.

As the summer growing season draws to a close, 2011 is emerging as the year of the superinsect — the year that pests officially developed resistance to Monsanto’s genetically engineered, bug-killing corn.

In late July 2011, Iowa scientists documented the existence of corn rootworms — ravenous pests that attack the roots of corn plants, even though these plants were ostensibly tweaked to prevent this from happening. Monsanto’s corn, engineered to express a toxic gene from a bacterial insecticide called Bt, now accounts for 65 percent of the corn planted in the U.S. The superinsect scourge has also arisen in Illinois and Minnesota.

“Monsanto insect-killing corn is toppling over in northwestern Illinois fields, a sign that rootworms outside of Iowa may have developed resistance to the genetically modified crop,” reports Bloomberg. According to Minnesota Public Radio, an entomologist has found corn rootworms thriving and Bt corn plants drooping in southern Minnesota fields.

“[A] 2008 study, conducted by University of Missouri researchers and published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that within three generations, rootworms munching Monsanto’s Bt corn survived at the same rate as rootworms munching pesticide-free corn — meaning that complete resistance had been achieved. Takeaway message: Rootworms are capable of evolving resistance to Monsanto’s corn in ‘rapid’ fashion.”

Monsanto, for its part, is reacting to the news as though nothing has happened. “Our [Bt corn] is effective,” Monsanto scientist Dusty Post insisted in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We do not have any demonstrated field resistance,” he added, pretending away the Iowa study and not speaking of the corn fields that are toppling over in Illinois and Minnesota.

Sources: “Monsanto Denies Superinsect Science,” by Tom Philpott, Mother Jones, September 8, 2011 and www.organicconsumers.org.

 

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2011.

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