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Scientists refute Greenpeace claim that genetically modified corn caused new insect pest
Date:1/6/2012

mited regions and did not cause any major problems in maize crops" is also untrue, according to the authors. Farmers in Nebraska reported major problems as early as 1962, and instead of being "confined to very limited regions," the WBC was documented throughout the western Great Plains from Mexico to Alberta, where it was found in the mid 1950s, despite the Greenpeace claim that it was found in Canada for the first time as recently as 2009.

According to the authors, "a curious theme throughout the Greenpeace Germany report, is that Then (2010) ignored the possibility of other influences on western bean cutworm range expansion, including several ecological and agronomic factors." For example, the increasing use of conservation tillage since the mid-1990s favors the survival rate of WBC larvae because less deep plowing minimizes mortality to insect pests that overwinter in the soil. Another possible reason is the reduction or elimination of insecticide applications, which has occurred with increased use of Bt corn over the past decade, likely resulting in increased survival of the WBC. Other possibilities for the WBC range expansion, such as climate change, were also ignored by Greenpeace and Testbiotech.

Out of concern that "potential misinterpretation of selected quotes" in the Greenpeace report may lead to confusion among future regulatory decision makers, the authors go on to give specific responses to other claims in the report.


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Contact: Dr. Thomas E. Hunt
thunt2@unl.edu
402-584-3863
Entomological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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