Benefits of genetically modified crops : Scientists confirm reduction of pesticide use

01.02.2000

Benefits of genetically modified crops : Scientists confirm reduction of pesticide use

The Associated Press reports on a recent Iowa State University study which shows that farmers in the Mid West of the United States, who planted Bt (genetically modified, GM) corn (maize) from 1996 to 1998, succeeded in reducing their insecticide use each year.
Bt maize is genetically engineered to produce a protein that is toxic to some insects, including the European corn borer. The insects die after feeding on GM maize leaves and stalks.

Researchers confirmed that 26 per cent of the farmers who planted the GM maize in 1998 decreased their insecticide use. That is compared to the 19 per cent of GM maize farmers in 1997 who reduced their insecticide use, and 13 per cent of GM maize farmers who decreased their use of pesticides in 1996. About 1 in 2 of the GM maize farmers who were questioned said that they do not use insecticides.

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