---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 06:22:30 -0500
From: ARS News Service <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: ARS News List <email@example.com>
Subject: Bt-Resistance Update
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Tara Weaver, (301) 344-2824, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 14, 1998
Good news for cotton growers: Two of their biggest pests, cotton bollworm
and tobacco budworm, have not become more resistant to the natural
insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), according to Agricultural
Research Service scientists.
That finding comes from an ongoing ARS project to develop a reliable
system for tracking insect resistance to Bt. In 1996-97, the ARS
researchers studied 67 insect colonies (24 tobacco budworm and 43 cotton
bollworm) in nine states.
Monsanto first developed crops with built-in Bt in the early 1990s as an
alternative to synthetic insecticides. Today, Bt-formulated crops are a
major source of insect control. Many crops, including corn, cotton and
potatoes, have been genetically engineered with the Bt gene to provide
“homegrown” protection against pests. Cotton with built-in Bt is grown
throughout the United States and in Australia.
Over time, some insects can develop resistance to insecticides, which
means more chemicals must be applied to achieve control. This can lead to
environmental hazards as well as increased costs for the grower. Several
pests, including the indianmeal moth, the diamondback moth and at least
nine other insects, have developed resistance to Bt.
ARS researchers plan to establish Bt.-resistance thresholds that would
trigger remedial action. They’re also working to determine the
appropriate actions to take if resistance is discovered.
Scientific contact: Dick D. Hardee, Southern Insect Management Research
Unit, Stoneville, Miss., phone (601) 686-5231, fax (601) 686-5421,
This item is one of the news and feature releases and story leads that ARS
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