On February 25, 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they had approved for commercial use transgenic corn that controls corn rootworm larvae. This new product will provide corn growers with a safe pest control alternative that can reduce reliance on traditional insecticides. The reduced insecticide use will directly benefit the environment and can mean less chemical exposure to people who apply pesticides to corn.
|Corn roots from YieldGard® Rootworm hybrid (left) and hybrid without Bt rootworm protein (right). Photo by Jon Tollefson..|
This transgenic corn, developed by Monsanto Company and referred to as MON 863, will be commercially marketed as YieldGard® Rootworm. This corn produces its own insecticide within the plant that is derived from the naturally occurring soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The Bt protein, called Cry3Bb1, controls corn rootworm larvae but not the adult beetles. This control prevents larvae from causing significant injury to corn roots (see photo). Now Iowa corn producers will have two separate transgenic control options for managing insect pests--YieldGard Rootworm for corn rootworms and YieldGard® Corn Borer for European corn borers. Currently, however, neither of the Bt proteins that control these pests are being stacked in a single hybrid.
This article originally appeared on page 13 of the IC-490 (3) -- March 17, 2003 issue.