05 August 1999
Doubt over gene crops’ USP

SCIENTISTS at the University of Arizona have raised doubts about one of the fundamental advantages claimed for genetically modified (GM) crops.

They have found that pests may become rapidly resistant to GM crops.

Tests indicate that insects resistant to pesticides produced by GM plants are far more likely to mate with each other.

This means that insect resistance to the crops is likely to spread far faster through a population of pests than had previously been supposed.

The findings are published in the magazine Nature.

The scientists studied the way cotton bollworm larvae interact with cotton plants that have been gene-altered to produce a toxin using the bacterial gene.

Their findings raise doubts strategies aimed at cutting the chances of pests developing immunisation to the gene-altered plants.

  • The Times 05/08/99 page 6
  • The Herald 05/08/99 page 1, page 2, page 16 (Leader)