On the Radio: Rootworm Resistance


Photo by Sarah Zukoff; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers a western corn rootworm’s growing resistance to genetically modified corn. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Researchers from Iowa State University have found that western corn rootworm is now resistant to two varieties of Bt corn. 

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus. 

Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, a toxin-producing gene genetically engineered into the corn – allowing the corn to fight pests. 

Aaron Gassman, an ISU assistant professor of entomology says that Bt corn has become and important tool for pest management because it has a smaller and more targeted environmental impact than pesticides. 

It also targets other pests besides rootworm, such as the European corn borer. 

Gassman also said planting corn on the same acres season after season has likely accelerated the development of rootworm resistance to Bt corn. 

Almost three-quarters of U.S. corn is Bt, and if a rootworm carries the genetic resistance to the toxin, it can spread that gene through reproduction.

To learn more about genetically modified crops, visit iowaenvironmentalfocus.org. 

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



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