Impact of Bacillus thuringiensis transgenic corn on non-target and phytophagous arthropod populations
Daly, Timothy Graham
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Transgenic field corn has been genetically engineered with the gene from the Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Bt), which secretes a proteinaceous endotoxins that are toxic to certain species of lepidopteran pests. The effects of transgenic Bt corn containing the MON 810 event on non-target arthropods were compared to those in conventional, near isogenic corn at two locations in Georgia. The study was conducted in 2001 and 2002 using visual counts, pitfall traps, and corn ear insect evaluations. The only insect whose numbers and mortality was consistently affected by the Bt corn was the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), a target insect. There were no consistent effects of the Bt toxins on non-target phytophagous and predaceous arthropods observed in the visual counts, nor on those non-target arthropods recovered from the pitfall traps and the corn ear dissection. From these results, transgenic Bt field corn containing the MON 810 event does not have an adverse effect on non-target phytophagous or predaceous arthropods.