Unlikely support for Bt crops

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The Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacteria protein in plants have not harmed monarch butterflies, honey bees, rats or shown up in the blood of pregnant women even though activist environmentalists have claimed such negatives.

The contention of a majority of scientists is that Bt crops are safer for growing crops than distributing larger amounts of pesticides in the environment.

A surprise is that these contentions are supported by an article published on MotherJones.com written by Sarah Zhang, an online editorial intern.

Genetically modified crops with Bts have not been proven to be harmful to humans, animals or even insects outside of the target families.

Zhang points out that beneficial insects not affected by Bts stay in fields to help control destructive insects. This adds even more to not needing chemical pesticides. “A massive 20-year study just published in the journal Nature found that using Bt cotton in China to control cotton bollworms closely tracked with a rebound in natural enemy populations, which in turn keep out secondary pests like aphids that usually proliferate when chemical insecticides kill the bollworms,” she wrote.

Zhang has ideas on how the public has been duped into its common perception that Bts are harmful. She sees it as large companies pushing their will on everyone in the world for their profit, which makes people suspicious from the very start.

The writer also explains the concept of resistance management and how resistance develops if the same Bt crop is planted continuously without a non-Bt section of fields, a refuge for insects. She also writes about how big of a refuge is needed.

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