GMO crops in Iowa fail as beetle larvae develop resistance
by L.J. Devon
In the decades ahead, will humanity sit and watch, as the biotech industry continues to expand, keeping nature dominated, while decimating all those “pests” that eat away at corporate profits?
How might genetically altered seeds and pesticides push honeybees to total collapse, as vegetables and herbs go without pollination, pushed away into oblivion?
One day, real vegetables, herbs and fruits could be pushed into endangerment, becoming some of the most costly food commodities.
How will nature fight back as the survival of biodiversity in agriculture sits on the chopping block?
America now dominated by genetically modified crops
Genetically modified crops like corn, soybeans and cotton now dominate the US — which has become the hub of biotechnology. As of 2013, nearly 85 percent of America’s corn production is genetically engineered, followed by 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton.
The genetic alterations create a highly profitable and controllable seed. GMO corn can be derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The Bt gene splice helps the corn generate its own poison after it’s planted, killing off beetles and other pests who dare take a bite.
As time wears on, though, nature begins to fight back as the beetles grow stronger than the toxin.
In a new report out of Iowa, biotechnology researchers are concerned about the failure of their profitable GMO crops. The western corn rootworm, which is a beetle larva, has become resistant to two strains of genetically modified corn. Farmers in Iowa are reporting that the beetles have begun a mass takeover of their GMO corn, as the new forms of larvae shrug off the toxins.
It didn’t take long for nature to begin outsmarting scientists. The problem was first reported back in 2009, when lab workers acknowledged pests’ growing resistance to the Cry3Bb1 strain of Bt corn. Soon thereafter, the worms started targeting a second strain of Bt corn, mCry3A, overtaking it.
The researchers stated that when, farmers mismanage the seed, it doesn’t produce enough of the toxin to kill the rootworms. Natural selection is basically producing a bigger, stronger root worm that can shrug off the Bt corn’s toxins. Their newfound strength has allowed the worms to be cross-resistant to even the newer strain of Bt corn.
So will scientists be able to keep up with the pests?
What are their next moves? How will biotechnology respond?
How long might the chess match go on as scientists use toxins and chemicals to fight nature?
What type of mutant environment awaits?
Biotechnology encourages pesticides that are causing honey bee colony collapse
Biotechnology farming methods also welcome mass application of pesticides like neonicotinoids. As these chemicals are doused into the open environment, herbs, butterflies, beetles and bees are ravaged, destroyed. This can be seen through the past decade’s honey bee “colony collapse disorder.” According to TIME, bee colonies have collapsed by 43 percent in the past year alone. Neonicotinoid pesticides basically destroy the nervous system of honey bees. Fields of wildflowers and herbs are replaced by expanding markets of corn and soybeans, leaving nothing but a desert for the bees, as their nutrition sources are depleted.
So how will Earth cope in the long run, with pesticides obliterating its balanced ecosystem? It seems that biotechnology may not have the upper hand after all. So how far will biotechnology go to preserve its empire over nature?
Will free and healthy people begin to respect biodiversity in nature? Or will agriculture become a dictatorship of sorts, ruled by a few select crops that are engineered by a select elite group operating behind biotechnology corporations?
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