Genetically modified Bt-corn does not threaten non-target organisms

The largest meta-analysis of data ever conducted showed that genetically modified Bt corn did not have a significant effect on non-target insects and other organisms, according to phys.org.

“Bt-corn is corn that has been modified to produce Bacillus thuringiensis proteins to control stem butterfly, western corn borer and other major corn pests. The first cultivation of Bt-corn was approved in 1996, and critics suggested that, in addition to these pests, it can also harm beneficial insects and other non-target organisms, “- said in a statement.

Entomologist Steve Naranjo, director of the Arid-Lands Center for Agricultural Research in Maricope, Arizona, and one of the study’s authors, explained that researchers have collected hundreds of individual studies published between 1997 and 2020. whether the cultivation of Bt maize has changed the number of non-target organisms, such as arthropods, earthworms and nematodes, compared to unmodified maize grown using technology that provided a protection system to control major pests.

In an analysis of a large body of research, Naranjo and fellow entomologists Jörg Romeis and Michael Meisle found that Bt corn did not adversely affect most groups of invertebrates, including ladybugs, flower bugs, and scale insects. The exceptions are populations of braconid insects (parasitic wasps) that parasitize the corn borer. They have decreased.

Researchers have even examined whether the authorship or financial support of biotechnology companies has influenced the results of individual studies.

“According to the analysis, data from studies that found any negative effects of Bt corn on non-target organisms are private sector-supported studies,” added Michael Maisle.

“But after all the calculations, we found that in general, Bt corn simply does not have a negative effect on non-target organisms,” said Naranjo.

The quality standards by which these studies will be included in the meta-analysis were outlined and tested by stakeholders, including scientists who did not participate in the meta-analysis project. It is noted that the meta-analysis data pool consists of 7,279 individual records on invertebrates from 233 experiments in 120 articles, 75% of which were from peer-reviewed journals.

In conclusion, it is added that this basic meta-analysis has largely proven previous research. In conclusion, the researchers added that Bt corn is a highly selective pest control technology with relatively few negative effects on non-target invertebrates, especially when compared to the use of broad-spectrum insecticides to control target pests.

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