Seed companies and farmers didn't follow scientists' recommendations about growing a type of corn that had been genetically engineered to produce its own pesticide, and now the beetle they were battling has developed an immunity to the corn and is gorging on it with abandon. This type of corn (Bt corn) accounts for three-quarters of all corn grown in the US.
By the turn of the millennium, however, scientists who study the evolution of insecticide resistance were warning of imminent problems. Any rootworm that could survive Bt exposures would have a wide-open field in which to reproduce; unless the crop was carefully managed, resistance would quickly emerge.
Key to effective management, said the scientists, were refuges set aside and planted with non-Bt corn. Within these fields, rootworms would remain susceptible to the Bt toxin. By mating with any Bt-resistant worms that chanced to evolve in neighboring fields, they’d prevent resistance from building up in the gene pool.
But the scientists’ own recommendations — an advisory panel convened in 2002 by the EPA suggested that a full 50 percent of each corn farmer’s fields be devoted to these non-Bt refuges — were resisted by seed companies and eventually the EPA itself, which set voluntary refuge guidelines at between 5 and 20 percent. Many farmers didn’t even follow those recommendations.
Voracious Worm Evolves to Eat Biotech Corn Engineered to Kill It
(Image: Silk clipping, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from entogirl's photostream)
Edward Snowden said that Britain’s spies have “some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the world,” and those powers are about to be dramatically expanded if the Snoopers Charter passes Parliament.
Andrew Taylor, 36, weighed 332 pounds on January 1st. He decided that was too much for him, and he resolved to eat nothing but potatoes for a year, in the hope that it will cure his binge eating. He shed 22 in January. He is also uploading videos of his progress on YouTube. From Oddity […]
Graphic designer Sean Tejaratchi made a couple of images depicting so-boring-they’re-fascinating View-Master reel. Sean’s site, Liar Town, USA is NSFW and very funny. I love everything he does:
If you’ve been blessed enough to avoid them yourself, you’ve definitely heard the horror stories. Late night, crushing out a ton of work, writing, coding, anything, then boom – your computer crashes. The battery blows, you spill water or coffee all over the place, or it just shuts down with no explanation, and you’re screwed. […]
You travel around a lot. It might be that jet set life from New York to LA to London to Tokyo, or it might be back and forth from the coffee shop to the office, or from the kitchen to the couch. Any which way, you’re mobile and that’s the way to live. When you […]
It’s 2016 and we like our technology really small. Our phones fit in our pockets, our remotes are lighter than ever, and even our cars seem to be shrinking. So your new drone shouldn’t be an exception. This Axis VIDIUS Drone is 21% off right now and it’s so little, your biggest problem won’t be […]