Chapter

Better Living through Biology

C. Neal Stewart

in Genetically Modified Planet

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195157451
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199790388 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157451.003.0007
 Better Living through Biology

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The monarch butterfly attracted attention as a target of biotechnology risks because it is showy. But what about more obscure but beneficial insects? Would they be harmed by transgenic plants? After all, chemical insecticides kill all kinds of insects when a field is sprayed, not just pests. Would transgenic Bt crops be different? While several researchers have looked for specific negative side-effects of insect-resistant plants, and even found some potential problems in lab experiments, no non-target effects have been conclusively demonstrated in the field. Large field experiments have shown that biological answers for insect control in the form of Bt toxin proteins in transgenic crops are more precise and environmentally friendly that chemical insecticide sprays.

Keywords: beneficial insects; Bt crops; chemical insecticides; environmentally friendly; non-target effects

Chapter.  7707 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biotechnology

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