Thomas Bjsrkman tnb1 at
Fri Jan 25 11:47:08 EST 2002

sjohnson at wrote:

 > an article in science-this-week might be interesting to in class
 > about gmos. abstract follows.
 > sandra
 > [Volume 295, Number 5555, Issue of 25 Jan 2002, pp. 674-676.

This is an interesting article, and rather unsettling. It's potential 
use in class extends far beyond the authors' intent. The article 
describes the rapid adoption of certain genetically engineered crops. 
supported by a large resarch and development effort in China. Their 
primary example of a success is cotton bollworm. They describe how the 
Chinese cotton industry did a poor job of resistance management with 
insecticides and have now deployed Bt cotton in its place. If it is used 
with the same management practices, they will soon have cotton bollworm 
that is resistant to Bt as well as the previously-used insecticides. 
That is the ecologists and the crop manger's concern about engineered Bt 
crops. The nature of resistance management is a great teaching tool for 
ecology that engages students in a current high-visibility problem.

What is unsettling about this article is that the authors don't even 
acknowledge this well-known risk or the cost to industry that it 
represents. It is as if they figure their profit before all the bills 
have arrived. Papers like this one keep serious people questioning the 
ability of the agbiotech industry to self-regulate. As an academic 
scientist, I am annoyed at getting tarred by the same brush. Scientists 
can produce some great technology, so it's a shame to see it misused.

Thomas Bjvrkman
Assoc. Prof. of Vegetable Physiology
Dept. of Horticultural Sciences
Cornell University

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list