I recently attended an IPM seminar where a researcher/extension agent
was discussing BT trangenic crops.
I asked the speaker the following questions:
1) Why does the BT organism sysnthesize a crystal protein toxin ?
2) Does BT (an ubiquitous soil microbe) have a role in regulating
insect populations in natural ecosystems ?
3) If so, what will be the effect of the development of BT resistant
populations on natural ecosystems ?
The speakers response was that no one knows why the BT organism
synthesizes the crystal protein toxin... he said that there is no
evidence of the crystal protein contributing to organism fitness.
He said that he wasn't aware of natural populations of BT having
any effect on insect survival in natural ecosystems.
My understanding was that the BT toxin was discovered because of
analysis of diseased Lepidoptera larva...
Can anyone comment on the role
of BT in natural ecosystems and the ecological implications of widespread
resistance to the BT toxin.
U of MD, Agronomy
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