Could Monsanto Co.’s genetically modified corn plants cause the emergence of superbugs? That’s what findings by Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann suggest.
Gassman found that western corn rootworms at four Iowa fields developed a resistance to pesticides in the Monsanto plants.
Although these findings are troubling, more work needs to be done in order to determine if these issues are widespread.
Monsanto already faces a similar issue with their popular herbicide Roundup. As Natural News reports, the widespread use of the herbicide led to the formation of superweeds.
The Wall Street Journal points out that farmers’ overreliance on technology could contribute to some of these issues:
The discovery comes amid a debate about whether the genetically modified crops that now saturate the Farm Belt are changing how some farmers operate in undesirable ways.
These insect-proof and herbicide-resistant crops make farming so much easier that many growers rely heavily on the technology, violating a basic tenet of pest management, which warns that using one method year after year gives more opportunity for pests to adapt.
Monsanto is already at the center of this issue because of its success since the 1990s marketing seeds that grow into crops that can survive exposure to its Roundup herbicide, a glyphosate-based chemical known for its ability to kill almost anything green.
These seeds made it so convenient for farmers to spray Roundup that many farmers stopped using other weedkillers. As a result, say many scientists, superweeds immune to Roundup have spread to millions of acres in more than 20 states in the South and Midwest.