GM Crop Use Makes Minor Pests a Major Problem

Cotton that has been genetically modified to poison an insect pest can cause a massive increase in the numbers of other insects.

“Bt cotton” is genetically modified to produce a toxin from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that is deadly to the bollworm. More than 4 million hectares of Bt cotton are now grown in China.

But according to Nature:

“Numbers of mirid bugs (insects of the Miridae family), previously only minor pests in northern China, have increased 12-fold since 1997.”

Mirids are now the main pest in the region, and their rise in numbers can be directly linked to the scale of Bt cotton cultivation.

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