Dow-DuPont’s GM corn fails to control pest, scientists say

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Published: 20 October 2016

Herculex insecticidal corn marketed by Dow and DuPont is failing to live up to promises

Considering it’s from the business publication Bloomberg, the article below is remarkably frank about the failure of GM crops. It reports that not only is Dow-DuPont’s Herculex Bt toxin trait failing to control the western bean cutworm pest, but Roundup Ready crops are “also failing” under an onslaught of Roundup-resistant weeds.

Dow-DuPont’s modified corn fails to control pest, scientists say

Jack Kaskey
Bloomberg, 20 Oct 2016

* “People are frustrated and angry,” insect experts say
* DuPont reduces efficacy of Herculex trait for cutworm control

A type of corn marketed by Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. is failing to live up to promises that it prevents a damaging worm from feeding on the crop, according to a group of insect experts.

Corn containing the Herculex trait isn’t controlling the western bean cutworm, six entomologists from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania wrote in an “open letter to the seed industry” posted last week on the website of Purdue University. The scientists urged seed companies to stop labeling Herculex for control of the pest so farmers won’t be lulled into a false sense of security.

“People are frustrated and angry and, more importantly, yield was lost,” they wrote in Purdue’s Pest & Crop Newsletter. “Before growers make seed choices for 2017, we again urge the seed industry to acknowledge the reality of what is happening in the field.”

DuPont cut the efficacy rating of Herculex on western bean cutworms to “moderate” in its 2017 Product Use Guide, from “very good” in the current-year publication. The change was made before the company was aware of the scientists’ letter, according to spokeswoman Sharly Sauer.

Larger insect infestations and “reduced sensitivity” to the bug-killing trait have recently increased corn damage, Dow said Wednesday in an e-mail. Farmers need to take additional steps to control cutworms, including potentially spraying insecticides, DuPont and Dow said separately.

Resistant Pests

Other genetically modified crops have lost some effectiveness after years of use. The root-chomping western corn rootworm has been showing signs of resistance to Monsanto Co.’s YieldGard corn for years. It’s one of five major crop pests known to have overcome insecticides produced by engineered corn and cotton. These crops produce insecticidal proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a soil bacterium, that can replace chemical insecticides. The problematic Bt protein in Herculex is called Cry1F.

“Cry1F has failed in our states,” the entomologists wrote. “For growers in our states, the costs of scouting and spraying Cry1F corn negates a major reason they purchased and planted a hybrid with the trait in the first place.”

The scientists investigated the efficacy of the trait amid “dozens of phone calls and e-mails,” they said.

Western bean cutworms feed on corn kernels. Untreated, they can lead to the growth of fungus and elevated levels of hazardous mycotoxins. Herculex is marketed for protection against eight other insects.

Also failing are Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, engineered to tolerate sprays of Roundup weedkiller. To combat an increasing number of weeds no longer killed by Roundup, the company has developed crops that also tolerate dicamba herbicide, while Dow has created competing technology based on the weedkiller 2,4-D.



India: Supreme Court extends stay on commercial release of GM mustard crop

Case will be heard on 24 October

EXCERPT: [Aruna Rodrigues’s petition to the Supreme Court] said the contamination caused by mustard HT DMH 11 and its HT parents would be “irremediable and irreversible”.

SC extends stay on commercial release of GM mustard crop

The New Indian Express, 17 Oct 2016

The Supreme Court today extended the stay on the commercial release of Genetically Modified (GM) Mustard crop till further orders as the matter did not reach the board for hearing.

The apex court, which, on October 7, had restrained the commercial release of the crop for ten days, said the stay would continue and the matter will be heard on October 24.

The court, at the last hearing, had asked the Centre to seek public opinion on such seeds before releasing it for cultivation purpose, even as government approval is awaited.

Read more:

Canada: Groups challenge federal approval of GM salmon in court

Environmental groups head to court to challenge a Federal Court ruling which upheld the government’s earlier approval of GM salmon

EXCERPT: Among [Karen] Wristen’s [of B.C.’s Living Oceans Society] concerns is what would happen if genetically modified salmon escape and start breeding with wild salmon. “That would result in genetic pollution essentially of the remaining wild salmon in P.E.I. [Prince Edward Island] and there aren’t that many left,” she claimed.

Groups challenge federal approval of genetically modified salmon in court

CBC News, 18 Oct 2016

* In Dec. 2015, Federal Court upheld government approval of GM salmon egg development in P.E.I. [Prince Edward Island]

Environmental groups head to court today to challenge a Federal Court ruling which upheld the government’s earlier approval of genetically modified salmon.

“This whole approval process has taken place behind doors. There’s been no engagement of Canadians on the subject should we genetically modifying animals for food’,” argued Karen Wristen, of B.C.’s Living Oceans Society, one of the groups involved in the challenge.

Read more:


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