Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetically Modified Corn Not A Threat To Swallowtail Butterfly Larvae

Date:
July 7, 2000
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
A Bt corn variety grown widely in East Central Illinois in 1999 had no adverse effect on black swallowtail caterpillars that thrive in weeds alongside cornfields, according to both field and laboratory studies at the University of Illinois.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A Bt corn variety grown widely in East Central Illinois in 1999 had no adverse effect on black swallowtail caterpillars that thrive in weeds alongside cornfields, according to both field and laboratory studies at the University of Illinois.

Related Articles


The study, published online June 6 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, differs from a May 1999 Nature report by Cornell University researchers, who, citing laboratory tests, said that genetically modified Bt corn slowed the growth and caused deaths of Monarch caterpillars.

Black swallowtail larvae, the UI researchers noted, are just as likely as are monarch caterpillars to encounter corn pollen in the field during a key developmental time between late June and mid-August. "Yet under actual field conditions, no mortality directly or indirectly attributable to ingestion of endotoxin-containing corn pollen could be detected," they wrote.

In field tests, researchers grew a Pioneer variety containing Monsanto event 810 -- a particular genetic configuration of corn carrying the gene that encodes the Bacillus thuringiesis toxin fatal to European corn borers, which ravage corn crops in some parts of North America. Pollen was carefully monitored and measured at a variety of locations ranging from 1/2 meter to 7 meters from the cornfield.

"Many of the caterpillars died, but not, as far as we could tell, due to anything connected to the corn or the corn pollen," said May Berenbaum, head of the UI entomology department. "There was no correlation between mortality and distance from the cornfield or between mortality and pollen load."

Some of the deaths were attributed to predation by spiders, carnivorous insects and other environmental factors. Black swallowtail females can lay up to 800 eggs during their two-week lifetime; overall life expectancies for caterpillars in the field invariably are low.

"We also measured the weights of the surviving caterpillars, and we found no negative pattern suggesting a problem in their growth and development," said UI entomologist Arthur R. Zangerl.

In the laboratory, researchers exposed more caterpillars to Bt corn pollen from plants in the field, as well as pollen from non-modified but genetically similar corn plants. The toxin from the same Bt corn again had no adverse effect, nor did pollen from non-modified corn. Pollen from another transformed variety, Novartis Max 454, however, was fatal to the caterpillars. Antibody assays of the Max 454 showed that it had 40 times as much toxin on average than did the 810 variety.

"This is not the green light for all forms of genetically modified organisms," Berenbaum said. "In this study, we examined only one GMO event -- just one genotype of Bt corn -- in the field." The report, she added, suggests risks to non-target organisms might be possible by the choice of Bt variety.

The UI Environmental Council, a campus organization devoted to environmental research, education and service, funded the study with a grant to C. Lydia Wraight, an undergraduate entomology student who worked with Zangerl, Berenbaum and graduate student Mark Carroll.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Genetically Modified Corn Not A Threat To Swallowtail Butterfly Larvae." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000703090514.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (2000, July 7). Genetically Modified Corn Not A Threat To Swallowtail Butterfly Larvae. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000703090514.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Genetically Modified Corn Not A Threat To Swallowtail Butterfly Larvae." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000703090514.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins