By Clive Wakely. The news that at least one species of a pest beetle has developed GM pesticide resistance is just the latest nail in the coffin of GM credibility.
According to the purveyors of genetically modified (GM) organisms, their products are entirely beneficial to both mankind and the environment; a statement that clearly ignores supposedly “impossible” unintended consequences such as “superweeds” and increased incidence of birth defects/lower birthrates amongst farm stock fed on GM feed.
We recently reported on emerging evidence that suggests the consumption of GM feed is responsible for an increase in birth defects and a lowering of fertility in farm animals, including sheep, cattle and fowl – something that was not “supposed to happen”.
The revelation that some insect pests have now developed a resistance to pesticides engineered into the stock seed used in the growing of commercial GM crops would appear to strengthen the suggestion that the science-for-profit geneticists have unleashed a potential Pandora’s box upon mankind.
The Western rootworm beetle, regarded as one of the most serious threats to corn (maize), has been reported as having developed resistance to Monsanto’s Bt-corn, with the result that entire crops are being lost.
In the US farmers from several Midwest states began reporting root damage to corn that was specifically engineered with a toxin to kill the rootworm.
This led to an Iowa State University entomologist confirming that the beetle, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, has, indeed, developed resistance to the Bt protein, Cry3Bb1.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) – is a bacterium that kills insects which has been engineered into cotton as well as corn crop plants.
Essentially, as the insects eat the corn or cotton they consume the poison that (once) killed them.
Some two-thirds of all US corn is genetically modified, the bulk of which is Bt-corn, of which GM-manufacturer Monsanto has the biggest market share.
In response to this revelation Monsanto is reported to have stated that only two of its GM pesticide-incorporated products are affected.
This is a worrying admission as it would imply that if one species of insect can develop an immunity to one or more GM products then any number of pests could, conceivable, develop immunity to whatever products the GM purveyors decide to place on the market.
It is further reported that researchers from the University of Kansas have established that the specimens tested came from fields suffering severe rootworm damage and compared them to those from unaffected fields; in other words, the evaluation was an in-situ field study and not a purely academic research exercise carried out in a laboratory in a “what if” simulation.
It has subsequently been shown that GM resistance develops in cases where the same Bt corn had been grown consecutively for at least three years.
Technically speaking, researchers found “a significant positive correlation between the number of years Cry3Bb1 maize had been grown in a field and the survival of rootworm populations on Cry3Bb1 maize in bioassays.”
The legacy implications are immense, as one agricultural expert has explained: “the Cry3Bb1 toxin is the major one deployed against rootworms. There is no ‘putting the genie back in the bottle,’ and resistance in these areas is a problem that won’t go away.”
Meanwhile the news for Monsanto gets even worse.
The base chemical in its Roundup herbicide, widely used on farms and in domestic gardens, is coming under increased scrutiny following the release of a new report calling for a heightened regulatory response around its use.
The active ingredient in the product, glyphosate, is said by critics to pose a serious threat to public health.
A comprehensive review of existing data released earlier this month by Earth Open Source, an organization that promotes advance sustainable food production, suggests that industry regulators in Europe have known for years that glyphosate (originally introduced by Monsanto in 1976) causes birth defects in the embryos of laboratory animals.
The implications of this research, we suggest, are obvious.
As one expert so rightly implied – once you let the GM genie (devil?) out of the bottle then there is no putting it back!