Physical Science

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  • Topic: Bacillus thuringiensis, Maize, Insect
  • Pages : 4 (1135 words )
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  • Published : October 16, 2011
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1. If there was no ECB infestation in a certain year, would a farmer gain or lose financially by planting Bt corn? Explain why. He might lose a little bit, but since there is no way to know if there will be an ECB infestation at planting time, he might still be better off to use Bt corn. There is almost always a residual number of corn borer and other insects left in the soil, even after treating a field, so the chances are too high that he might need to spray insecticides to keep the damage down, a much more expensive proposition. Many farmers believe the extra cost to be worth the chance of a low infestation year. 2.What might happen if Bt corn affects non-target organisms such as beneficial insects or harmless insects? BT corn is much safer than spraying insecticide on the crop. Sprays kill all insects they contact, but BT only kills larvae that eat it. If the larvae are eating the corn it is a pest, so BT cannot kill harmless or beneficial insects. We are already seeing some problems with g-modified corn. (Mind you that all the corn that we have from commercial growth has been modified by human selection for productivity and by conventional hybridization, even before the techniques of genetic engineering are applied,)We now know that the assurances provided by the corporations that sell the seeds that there would not be crossover of the spliced genetic material into adjacent plant varieties, we have found both herbicide resistant genes and pesticide genetic material in plants that didn't have them previously, and were within the pollen shower (wind -dispersed pollen) of the commercial crops. This increases chances of damage to populations of beneficial and harmless insects. You don't have to have the genetic materials in the corn to kill diseases and pests in order to have the unwanted problems of damage to these insect populations; many pesticide sprays are non-selective enough that beneficial insects...
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