The safety of Bt corn for human and animal health has also been thoroughly addressed.
These assessments considered and tested the possibility of allergic reaction.
The assessments also evaluated the possibility that earlier techniques, which were used to select transformed plants, could be linked to antibiotic resistance.
This extensive research led to the conclusion that Bt corn is as safe as non-Bt corn for human and animal health.
Does growing Bt corn have any adverse effects on the environment?
Before Bt corn could be approved, regulatory authorities thoroughly considered a wide range of research examining the possible impacts of Bt corn on non-target organisms including bees, ladybirds, butterflies, beetles, birds and small mammals.
The mechanism whereby Bt protein controls the corn borer is highly specific, and most non-target organisms in the field are not affected by it. Rather, these animals digest the protein along with all the others in their diet.
Does Bt corn affect beneficial insects and natural enemies?
Many studies have shown that Bt Cry proteins are highly selective in killing larvae of moths.
Bt corn, however, does not affect beneficial insects including honey bees, lady beetles, green lacewing larvae, spiders, pirate bugs or parasitic wasps .
Indirect effects on natural enemies of European corn borer, however, could occur.
Predators, parasites and pathogens of the corn borer might decline as corn borer populations decline.
How exactly does Bt corn protect itself from the corn borer?
Specific strains of Bacillus thuringiensis produce a protein, often called “Bt protein”.
When eaten by a corn borer, Bt protein is broken down by digestive enzymes in the larva’s alkaline (basic pH) intestine, generating a shorter protein that binds to specific receptor proteins in the wall of the intestine of the target insect pest.
This damages the cell membrane, making it leaky, and stopping the larva in its tracks.
Can European corn borer develop resistance to Bt corn?
European corn borer may have the potential to develop resistance to Bt Cry proteins.
Insects are known for their ability to rapidly develop resistance to certain insecticides.
Resistance occurs particularly when insecticides are used repeatedly and at high concentrations
Some of these factors for the European corn borer include: