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 April 21, 2015 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 April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thai Customs Seize African Elephant Tusks Worth $6 Mn

Thai Customs Seize African Elephant Tusks Worth $6 Mn

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Thai customs seize four tonnes of African elephant ivory worth $6 million at a Bangkok port in a container labelled as beans. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 17, 2015) A truck carrying honey bees overturns near Lynnwood, Washington, spreading boxes of live bees across the highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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