Tuesday, July 25, 2006

China's GM cotton battles a new bug

New Scientist Breaking News - China's GM cotton battles a new bug

I think when we get to the chapter on the environment in my book, there's only going to be one word in it: Balance. Nature will always find a balance, because it abhors a vacuum and life will find a way. In order to be efficient, we need to find the kind of balances that can balance each other out. This won't be easy, but dang will it be good for us if we can pull it off.
"The benefits of growing genetically engineered cotton resistant to bollworm pests appear to have been eroded as new pests move in, a new study suggests.

The five million Chinese GM cotton farmers appear to have created a natural vacuum by growing cotton genetically engineered to kill the bollworm larvae which used to destroy their plants. With the bollworm larvae gone, other pests called mirids have taken over, forcing farmers to eradicate them with lashings of expensive insecticide that have all but destroyed the original economic benefits.

When GM cotton was first grown in China in the late 1990s, it produced miraculous results that were hailed as proof that GM technology could benefit poor farmers. They saw great gains – in the first three years of planting the crop called Bt cotton – they cut pesticide use by more than 70%.

But seven years down the line, mirids are spoiling the party to such an extent that the farmers have to spray their crops up to 20 times per growing season to control them."

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