Several species of insects have adapted to deal with crops genetically engineered to produce insecticide.
Five out of the thirteen most prominent crop pests appear to have developed immunity to the genetically engineered alterations, leading to valuable new data for scientists attempting to keep ahead of the game. A combination of factors including more widespread use of the GM crops and greater exposure of insects to pesticides have been attributed to the increase in adaptation.
One of the common techniques used to decrease the chance that insects will adapt is to plant a "refuge" of non-GM crops on land opposite the GM fields. Immune insects will then be more likely to mate with non-immune insects in the non-GM crop, resulting in offspring that are themselves susceptible to the insecticide.
"Five of 13 major crop pests have evolved resistance to corn and cotton genetically engineered to make their own insecticide, providing lessons for extending the usefulness of such technologies, University of Arizona researchers said in a study."
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