On the Radio: Genetically modified crops affect monarch butterfly populations

Photo by Dave Govoni, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s episode discusses the effects genetically modified crops on monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterfly populations are declining.  Some research suggests that genetically modified crops may be partially responsible.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota completed research earlier this year linking the declining monarch butterfly population to the increased use of genetically modified crops.

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed, which often grows on the edges of cornfields. The caterpillars then feed exclusively off of the milkweed.

However, because genetically modified crops can withstand heavy doses of herbicide, more herbicide is being used on cornfields resulting in less milkweed. Without this food source, the caterpillars struggle to survive.

Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

For more information on this issue, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

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