Biotech cotton curbs one pest only to unleash another

May 17, 2010

By hammersmith

[Source: New York Times] – Genetically engineered crops are becoming victims of their own success.

Over the past decade, cotton modified to produce a toxin lethal to its most pesky insect predator has revolutionized the industry. From the U.S. cotton belt to northern China, farmers have found that with their primary foe neutered, they have been able to dramatically cut their insecticide use — at least, for a time.

While some U.S. growers have cannily integrated the crop, known as Bt cotton, into pest strategies that have dropped insecticide use by 75 percent, not all farmers have applied the same forethought in adopting the cotton. And these farmers are reaping the consequences, as an echo boom of bugs that had previously been controlled by indiscriminately applied insecticide are beginning to rise again.

For more information: Biotech Cotton Curbs One Pest Only to Unleash Another