A crop-devastating pest known as the armyworm has begun developing resistance to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) designed to kill it, according to a study conducted by researchers from Louisiana State University, North Carolina State University (NCSU), the University of Florida, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the University of Minnesota and the University of Georgia, and published in the journal PLOS ONE on November 17.
Armyworms are a potent predator of major agricultural crops including corn, cotton and soy, and cost farmers in the South tens of millions of dollars per year.
Armyworms are actually the caterpillar form of a species of moth (Spodoptera frugiperda) and are typically very vulnerable to the pesticides produced by plants genetically engineered (GE) to carry a gene from the bacteria species Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The fact that pests are now starting to develop resistance to Bt poses "a great threat" to the future of GMO crops, the researchers said.
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