Surprise, surprise, Monsanto’s genetically modified seed is being overcome by the insects evolutionary arsenal. A new study by Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann, has found that western corn rootworms have developed resistance to an insect killing protein, derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, also known as Bt, the insecticide in Monsanto’s gentically modified corn plant. The rise of a new super bug is raising concerns amongst farmers that have been using Monsanto’s GMO seed, that they will have to use pesticides to combat this evolutionary development. Monsanot released the seed back in 2003, and are stating that their customers are still getting their monies worth in using this GMO seed. The evolutionary path of the corn rootworm’s adaption to Monsanto’s gentically modified seed is being passed down to the rootworm’s offspring. Insects have adapted and have overcome Monsanto’s GMO technolgy within a short period of time. Monsanto has told farmers to start rotating their crops between using non-Bt corn and SmartStax seeds introduced in 2010 to kill the corn rootworm in a new way. One of the facts that came out in the study, is that the fields the Bt resistant corn rootworms were found in, had only been using the Bt seeds for three years. Scientists in other midwestern states have begun to investigate whether bugs in their areas have developed the resistance to Bt as well. The unknown here is just how virulent will future GMO seeds have to be, in order to combat pests that seem to easily overcome the seeds defenses? Perhaps now is the time to reconsider the use of Monsanto’s GMO seeds.
Photo Credit: Marlin E. Rice