Uh-Oh: Bugs Develop Resistance to Franken-Corn

Genetically modified crop no longer fends off all pests

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 30, 2011 6:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – Farmers in Iowa who planted corn seeds genetically modified to fend off the dreaded corn rootworm are seeing a troubling sign: The rootworm is apparently developing a resistance to the Monsanto seeds and gobbling up cornfields again, say Iowa University researchers. It's still just a small percentage of rootworms that have adapted, reports AFP, but the development is renewing fears that biotech crops will create superbugs.

"These are isolated cases, and it isn't clear how widespread the problem will become," an Iowa State entomologist tells the Wall Street Journal. "But it is an early warning that management practices need to change." At Mother Jones, blogger Tom Philpott thinks Monsanto has put farmers on a "treadmill" of sorts: "the need to apply ever more, and ever more novel, high-tech responses to keep up with ever-evolving pests."

File photo of a cornfield.
File photo of a cornfield.   (Shutterstock)
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