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Asian corn borer still no match for Bt corn

By goGreen | March 31, 2012
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BACILLUS thuringiensis (Bt) corn has proven to be a tough nut to crack for the dreaded Asian corn borer (ACB), a major pest that ruins up to 80 percent of traditional corn varieties.

Dr. Edwin Alcantara of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Biotech) at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) said in a recent lecture that a study he and his team conducted on Bt corn in several sites confirmed the resistance to ACB.

Alcantara said since the ACB could not penetrate Bt corn grains 10 years after the variety had been approved for commercialization, it is remote for the pest to suddenly develop resistance to the unique protein used in shielding the biotech corn from attack.

“ACB has simply not overcome the genetic armor of Bt corn,” he said.

Alcantara delivered his lecture entitled “Monitoring Cry1ab Susceptibility in ACB on Bt Corn in the Philippines” during the Biotech Monthly Seminar in UPLB.

He said tests have shown that no field-evolved ACB had been detected in Bt corn stands 10 years after the variety had been commercialized in the Philippines.

In the study his team conducted, Alcantara said the baseline susceptibility of several ACB populations to the protein Cry1ab was first estimated.

From the baseline bioassay data, the team identified  and validated a diagnostic concentration to several populations of ACB. Cry1ab is the protein that battles ACB and prevents it from nibbling away at the corn.

Alcantara said the concentration is now being used to monitor the development of ACB resistance in eight corn-producing provinces.

Monitoring ACB resistance to Cry1ab is constantly being monitored as part of what he calls “responsible stewardship of transgenic technology.”

 

Source: Business Mirror

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