Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lethal effects of genetically modified Bt toxin confirmed on young ladybird larvae

Date:
February 27, 2012
Source:
European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)
Summary:
Researchers confirm earlier findings that the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry1Ab produced for pesticidal purposes by genetically modified (GM) Bt maize increases mortality in the young ladybird larvae (Adalia bipunctata L., two-spotted ladybird) in laboratory tests. These ladybird larvae are typical ‘non-target’ environmental goods which are not supposed to be harmed by the GM maize.

Swiss researchers of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zόrich confirm earlier findings that the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry1Ab produced for pesticidal purposes by genetically modified (GM) Bt maize increases mortality in the young ladybird larvae (Adalia bipunctata L., two-spotted ladybird) in laboratory tests. These ladybird larvae are typical 'non-target' environmental goods which are not supposed to be harmed by the GM maize.(1)

Related Articles


On February 15, the research team headed by Dr. Angelika Hilbeck published the results of additional testsi after their first publication in 2009 (2) was strongly criticized by proponents of GM crops in a coordinated attack in the scientific journal "Transgenic Research." (3) Following the well known pattern described by the U.S. science journalist Waltz(4), the counter-articles tried to discredit the 2009 research as "pseudo-science," and presented their own research aimed at disproving the original work. Trigger for this concerted attack was the policy response by the German government which issued a ban in spring 2009 on the commercial planting of a GM maize that expresses the tested Bt toxin, based -- among many others -- on the results of the earlier 2009 study with A. bipunctata.

The Swiss researchers also investigated why the counter-research could not repeat their first results and arrived at a simple conclusion. „We could show that the protocols applied by Alvarez-Alfageme et al. 2011 were significantly different to our earlier studies and much less likely to detect adverse effects of the toxins than those by Schmidt et al. 2009, and our follow-up studies," explains Dr. Hilbeck.

„When testing the protocols by Alvarez-Alfageme et al. 2011 with Bt-susceptible target organisms, the European corn borer larvae, they were hardly damaged by the Bt toxin -- this clearly disqualifies the method for detecting negative Bt effects on non-target organisms." In an accompanying commentary, the authors noted that the reaction of GM crop promoters to results of risk research is often based on double standards. (5) As long as the results seemingly support the claims of no risk, poor quality science is accepted, and receives very little scrutiny.

For example, no comparable criticism was voiced in cases where the selected test organisms, larvae of the green lacewing, without any doubt were not able to ingest the offered Bt toxin -- thus consistently producing false negative results. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recent years has acknowledged the unsuitability of the lacewing tests for GM crop risk assessment, they still constitute the basis for GM Bt crop approvals, and for 'sound science', by European authorities. "It is time to move beyond the rather 'dogmatic denial' and 'shooting the messenger' stages of the debate and onto the more mature stage of scientific discourse where a meaningful examination of scientific 'surprises'dominates the discussion," said David Gee, senior adviser on science, policy and emerging issues to the European Environmental Agency.

„It is surprising that the European authorities, after implementing biosafety legislation which is based on the precautionary principle and demands scientifically robust ecological risk research and assessment for two decades, still rely on the systematically flawed protocols and on data developed and promoted by the biotechnology industry and their cooperating scientists," said Professor Brian Wynne, of the UK Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) at Lancaster University. Prof Wynne continued:

"We do not need biosafety research embedded in the visions of the biotechnology industry that supports unsustainable industrialised agriculture. Instead we need independent research like Hilbeck's which assesses the specific environmental effects of genetic engineering, uses sensitive methodologies and helps indicate the potentially damaging effects on biodiversity as well as on agricultural diversity, of the industrial production systems which GM agriculture only intensifies. In addition to the urgently needed support for genuinely independent biosafety research, EU and member-state authorities should be taking seriously the benefits of crop diversity, multifunctional agriculture and agricultural policies which develop productive European food systems under sustainable agro-ecological conditions."

"The unnecessary controversy on the Adalia experiments highlights the need for agreed protocols and environmentally relevant risk research and assessment. We urge the European authorities to overcome their reliance on expertise from one sector only -- industry-embedded -- when setting the standards for approval of GM organisms," Dr. Hartmut Meyer, coordinator of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), concluded. "In addition, a revision of the current approvals for commercial growing of GM plants is necessary."

References:

1) Hilbeck, A et al. 2012. A controversy re-visited: Is the coccinellid Adalia bipunctata adversely affected by Bt toxins? Environmental Sciences Europe 2012, 24:10 doi:10.1186/2190-4715-24-10
Open Access: www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/10

2) Schmidt J E U et al. 2009. Effects of Activated Bt Transgene Products (Cry1Ab, Cry3Bb) on Immature Stages of the Ladybird Adalia bipunctata in Laboratory Ecotoxicity Testing. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 56(2):221-228
www.springerlink.com/content/4317km7733582u32/

3) Ricroch A et al. 2010. Is the German suspension of Mon810 maize cultivation scientifically justified? Transgenic Research 19(1):1-12
Open Access: rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11248-009-9297-5

Rauschen S. 2010. A case of “pseudo science”? A study claiming effects of the Cry1Ab protein on larvae of the twospotted ladybird is reminiscent of the case of the green lacewing. Transgenic Research 19(1):13-16
Open Access: rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11248-009-9301-0

Alvarez-Alfageme F et al. 2011. Laboratory toxicity studies demonstrating no adverse effects of Cry1Ab and Cry3Bb1 to larvae of Adalia bipunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): the importance of study design. Transgenic Research 20(3):467-479
Open Access: rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11248-010-9430-5

4) Waltz E. 2009. Battlefields. Nature 461:27-32
Open Access: www.nature.com/news/2009/090902/full/461027a.html

5) Hilbeck, A et al. 2012. Underlying reasons of the controversy over adverse effects of Bt toxins on lady beetle and lacewing larvae. Environmental Sciences Europe 24: 9
Open Access: www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/9


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Angelika Hilbeck, Joanna M McMillan, Matthias Meier, Anna Humbel, Juanita Schlaepfer-Miller, Miluse Trtikova. A controversy re-visited: Is the coccinellid Adalia bipunctata adversely affected by Bt toxins? Environmental Sciences Europe, 2012; 24 (1): 10 DOI: 10.1186/2190-4715-24-10

Cite This Page:

European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER). "Lethal effects of genetically modified Bt toxin confirmed on young ladybird larvae." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120227111158.htm>.
European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER). (2012, February 27). Lethal effects of genetically modified Bt toxin confirmed on young ladybird larvae. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120227111158.htm
European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER). "Lethal effects of genetically modified Bt toxin confirmed on young ladybird larvae." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120227111158.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) — As money runs out at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, around 85 chimps are facing homelessness. The centre closed when the Ebola epidemic was ravaging the country but now that closure is beginning to look permanent. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wild Weather Lashes Sydney Region

Wild Weather Lashes Sydney Region

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Sydney and surrounding areas are lashed by wild weather with trees felled, power cuts hitting thousands of homes and sand drifts sweeping inland off the iconic Bondi beach. Duration: 00:50 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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
Pee-Power Toilet to Light Up Disaster Zones

Pee-Power Toilet to Light Up Disaster Zones

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) — Students and staff are being asked to use a prototype urinal to &apos;donate&apos; urine to fuel microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power lighting. The developers hope the pee-power technology will light toilet cubicles in refugee camps, where women are often at risk of assault in poorly lit sanitation areas. Matthew Stock reports. 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