December 28, 2011
One of the nation's most widely planted crops -- a genetically
engineered corn plant that makes its own insecticide -- may be
losing its ability to kill a major pest.
Scientists fear potentially risky farming practices are spurring
the rise of insects immune to the sophisticated weaponry in
so-called Bt corn.
When it was introduced in 2003, the corn seemed like the answer
to farmers' dreams because it would allow growers to bring in
bountiful harvests using fewer chemicals. It now accounts for 65
percent of all U.S. corn acres. The grain ends up in thousands of
everyday foods such as cereal, sweeteners and cooking oil.
But over the last few summers, rootworms have feasted on the
roots of Bt corn in parts of four states. That suggests some of the
insects are becoming resistant.