The European corn borer (ECB) infestations were applied in three separate levels to four types of corn (BT456, BT123, Golden Crop, and Super H (Non-BT): none, low, and high. When there was no infestation of ECB each type of corn experienced a relatively moderate growing yield, with BT456 and Golden Crop exhibiting the greatest yields…
BT456 and Golden Crop experienced similar drops with the low and high infestations (BT456- 5%/16% & Golden Crop-7%/26% approximately). Meanwhile, BT123 appeared to be the most resistant crop to either infestation of the European corn borer. It exhibited a yield of more than 1% greater during the low infestation and dropped a mere 2% in the high infestation phase.
A farmer would gain by planting BT corn even if there was no particular threat of the European corn borer to the crop. The average yield of the Super H (Non-BT) crop was 163.4, barely out-producing BT123 which had an average yield of 163. Therefore, if a farmer chose either BT456 or Golden Crop he would out-produce the Super H (Non-BT) crop on average yields, with 186 and 184.7 respectively.
If the Bacillus Thuringiensis bacterium in the corn affected non-target beneficial insects it would act as a disadvantage to the livelihood of the crop removing insects that have positive effects on the crop's yield. Alternatively, it would prove advantageous if the bacterium could also remove harmful insects in addition to the European corn borer for which it was designed, thereby increasing the livelihood of the crop and the yield. ...
Regardless, it has been determined that the protein in BT-corn is very selective and only acts as an insecticide for those insects unsafe to the corn crop, having no effects on the environment, people, animals, or beneficial insects (Bessin, 2004).
4.) What might happen if ECB became resistant to BT
If the European corn borer were to become resistant to the bacterium-generated corn it would result in more damage for the farmer's crop yield. If the ECB become resistant, then they will produce larvae that are, in turn, defiant against the BT corn. According to Ric Bessin the Extension Entomologist at the University Of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the best way for farmers to prevent ECB resistance is providing higher doses of the bacterium necessary to kill the ECB and limiting the amounts of BT corn they produce, allowing some non-BT corn remaining as a refuge to the corn borers (2004).
5.) Discuss possible benefits and drawbacks of a transgenic organism such as BT Corn
Some benefits posed upon using BT corn include pricing, whether the pressure exuded by the corn borers on the crop is great enough to pay extra for the bacterium-generated corn. In addition, since the bacterium is within the organism there is no need for the equipment and application necessary for regular insecticides; also, the selectivity of the protein rids the crop of other potential dangerous insects while ineffectual to neutral and favorable organisms. Some drawbacks of using the BT corn include cost, which can be an advantage and disadvantage; the possibility of cross-pollination among BT corn and non-BT corn due to the fact that it depends on the wind to pollinate; and the management plan that must be incorporated in ...
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