by Saturday Sep 13th, 2014 7:50 AM
The western corn rootworm (WCR) survives on corn plants and is considered a frequent pest species in the Midwestern corn belt. Following the introduction of Monsanto's genetically modified (GMO) corn containing the Bt proteins (Cry3Bb1) toxic to the WCR there was an initial reduction of pest insects. This temporary victory over the WCR then led corn producers to abandon their traditional practice of crop rotation, planting soy instead of corn every other year. The WCR requires corn for food and cannot exist on soy alone. However there is always someone planting corn nearby and the WCR simply needs to find the closest corn field and start feasting.
Now with all the available corn the WCR generations use their natural tendency to evolve resistance to toxins and begin to survive on the GMO Bt corn with the toxic protein Cry3Bb1. This resistance was first discovered in two counties (Henry, Whiteside) in northwestern Illinois a few years ago, and as of April this year has included three more (McDonough, Mercer and Sangamon).
From the University of Illinois;
Field Evolved Western Corn Rootworm Resistance to Bt (Cry3Bb1) Confirmed in Three Additional Illinois Counties
Posted on April 3, 2014 by Michael Gray
"On August 24, 2012, in cooperation with Dr. Aaron Gassmann’s laboratory, Iowa State University, I confirmed the evolution of field resistance by western corn rootworms to the Cry3Bb1 protein in some problem fields located in northwestern Illinois (Henry and Whiteside Counties). During the summer of 2012, Dr. Joe Spencer, Illinois Natural History Survey, received suspected Bt-resistant western corn rootworm adults that had been collected in continuous cornfields in McDonough, Mercer, and Sangamon Counties. Eggs were obtained from these adults in the laboratory. Single plant bioassays utilizing larvae were performed from July through November 2013. The bioassay procedures were those described by Gassmann et al (2011).
•Gassmann, A.J., J.L. Petzold-Maxwell, R.S. Keweshan, and M.W. Dunbar. 2011. Field-evolved resistance to Bt maize by western corn rootworm. PLOS ONE 6: e22629. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0022629
The suspected Bt (Cry3Bb1) resistant larvae were exposed to a hybrid expressing the Cry3Bb1 protein as well as its corresponding isoline (not expressing the Cry3Bb1 protein). Larvae obtained from three control colonies of western corn rootworms also were used in the bioassays. The control larvae had never been exposed to any corn rootworm Bt protein and were provided by the USDA North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory, Brookings, South Dakota. The results from these bioassays confirm the evolution of field resistance to the Cry3Bb1 protein in these problem fields located in McDonough, Mercer, and Sangamon Counties. This now brings the total number of Illinois counties with field-evolved resistance (Cry3Bb1 protein) to five." http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/?p=1913
What is the suggestion from Monsanto to corn producers? Simply to try another Bt variety of toxin besides Cry3Bb1, promoting a "pyramid" with several combo toxins. As if the insects couldn't eventually evolve a resistance to the triad of new toxins. Guess who else is going to be consuming the latest toxic pyramid of GMO Bt proteins in their ears of corn?
That is reason enough to boycott ALL GMO CORN PRODUCTS!
We need to step off the pesticide treadmill before bioaccumulating the latest toxin to come out of the point of Monsanto's gene guns. No wonder the rest of the world is banning GMO products from their shelves. If we're the last lab rats to jump out of our cages, we'll be the least healthy human population in comparison with the most wealth accumulation by Monsanto and other corporations on the GMO bandwagon.
"Farmers from several Midwest states began reporting root damage to corn that was specifically engineered with a toxin to kill the rootworm. Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann recently confirmed that the beetle, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, has developed resistance to the Bt protein, Cry3Bb1.
Bacillus thuringiensis – Bt – is a bacterium that kills insects. Different proteins are engineered into cotton as well as corn plants.
Two-thirds of all US corn is genetically modified per the USDA, and the bulk of that is Bt-corn. Monsanto has the biggest market share in the US, reporting about 35% in 2009.
In response to the July 2011 study, Monsanto said only the “YieldGard® VT Triple and Genuity® VT Triple PRO™ corn products” are affected.
“It appears he has demonstrated a difference in survival in the lab, but it is too early to tell whether there are implications for growers in the field.”
However, Kansas State researchers summarized the study, indicating that the specimens tested came from fields suffering severe rootworm damage and compared them to those from unaffected fields. In other words, it was a field study.
Resistance developed where the same Bt corn had been grown at least three years in a row. Gassmann found “a significant positive correlation between the number of years Cry3Bb1 maize had been grown in a field and the survival of rootworm populations on Cry3Bb1 maize in bioassays.”
Ag Professional’s Colleen Scherer explains that “the Cry3Bb1 toxin is the major one deployed against rootworms. There is no ‘putting the genie back in the bottle,’ and resistance in these areas is a problem that won’t go away.”
Monsanto urges farmers to try their “stacked” GM products where more than one trait is engineered and to employ integrated pest management (IPM) techniques.
Kind of like getting on a treadmill of ever increasing DNA manipulation and chemicals to maintain monocultures, instead of reverting to time-honored mixed farms that use companion plants (including weeds) for pest control. IPM does not have to include toxic chemicals or genetic manipulation for success. (See, e.g., Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture). http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-gm-corn-in-peril-beetle-develops-bt-resistance/26198
here's the report;
Western corn rootworm and Bt maize: challenges of pest resistance in the field.
Gassmann AJ1, Petzold-Maxwell JL, Keweshan RS, Dunbar MW.
Crops genetically engineered to produce insecticidal toxins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) manage many key insect pests while reducing the use of conventional insecticides. One of the primary pests targeted by Bt maize in the United States is the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte. Beginning in 2009, populations of western corn rootworm were identified in Iowa, USA that imposed severe root injury to Cry3Bb1 maize. Subsequent laboratory bioassays revealed that these populations were resistant to Cry3Bb1 maize, with survival on Cry3Bb1 maize that was three times higher than populations not associated with such injury. Here we report the results of research that began in 2010 when western corn rootworm were sampled from 14 fields in Iowa, half of which had root injury to Cry3Bb1 maize of greater than 1 node. Of these samples, sufficient eggs were collected to conduct bioassays on seven populations. Laboratory bioassays revealed that these 2010 populations had survival on Cry3Bb1 maize that was 11 times higher and significantly greater than that of control populations, which were brought into the laboratory prior to the commercialization of Bt maize for control of corn rootworm. Additionally, the developmental delays observed for control populations on Cry3Bb1 maize were greatly diminished for 2010 populations. All 2010 populations evaluated in bioassays came from fields with a history of continuous maize production and between 3 and 7 y of Cry3Bb1 maize cultivation. Resistance to Cry34/35Ab1 maize was not detected and there was no correlation between survival on Cry3Bb1 maize and Cry34/35Ab1 maize, suggesting a lack of cross resistance between these Bt toxins. Effectively dealing with the challenge of field-evolved resistance to Bt maize by western corn rootworm will require better adherence to the principles of integrated pest management. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22688688
Published on Sep 16, 2013
This video by Dr. Joseph L. Spencer illustrates basic western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, WCR) life history and biology in rotated corn and soybean fields typical of the eastern Corn Belt where rotation-resistant WCR populations are present. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgZ8BA9mBkk
some comments from the "peanut gallery";
Three Knocks from the Grim Reaper;
This is based on mythology, it is the legend of the entity known as the "Grim Reaper" (Death) sometimes giving humans a warning of it's approach in the form of three loud knocks. So here it is;
Public Service Announcement from the Grim Reaper;
Certain humans in corporations are leading their collective population down a pathway to meet me before their time. This isn't what is supposed to happen, though I cannot stop these humans from fooling other humans into thinking something truly bad for them is edible. My job was once natural as all living beings since the beginning of life on Earth eventually died and their new offspring lived on. However, humans are shortening this cycle with their GMO crops by causing cancer, diabetes, malnutrition and other food derived illnesses that bring them over the threshold much sooner than before.
Another consideration of corn monoculture and pest resistance is food prices rising as supply decreases while demand increases. This is contributing to the famine effect when large fields of corn will be destroyed by the resistant insects and the surviving crops will contain too many Bt toxins to be safe for human consumption. Land that was once the domain of free ranging bison is now tied up by toxic GMO corn fields and humans die early deaths from malnutrition and resulting complication illnesses.
The gene guns used by Monsanto to aim the inserted GMO toxin from the Bt bacteria into the corn's DNA are causing more damage to the human consumers than the insects they are targeting! Ironically this is similar to the guns of police, who instead of protecting civilians often kill them instead!
"Smoking guns, hot to the touch
Would cool down if we didn't use them so much!"
- Hall and Oates "Out of Touch" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oev4x8L6Y4M