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India Pressured to Release Bt Cotton Seed

on 2001/10/20 8:47:02 ( 1190 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 19, 2001: The Environmental Ministry yesterday burned a crop of Bt cotton grown by a farmer who bought the seed from a company in Hyderabad. Bt Cotton is genetically manipulated cotton that produces a protein which is toxic to the bollworm, the cotton crop's primary pest. The toxin in Bt cotton exists in nature as Bacillus thuringgiensis (Bt). A gene from this bacteria is introduced into the cotton gene which then helps the plant to kill the pest when it feeds on it. This article complains at length about the government's failure to release the seed to the public, even though both Chinese and American farmers are allowed to use it, resulting in greater yields. The article, however, does not mention the recent findings in America that farmers must follow the Environmental Protection Agency's stringent guidelines for this cotton which require them to plant five acres of non-Bt cotton to 95 acres of Bt cotton. This program allows the bollworm to thrive in the non-Bt cotton without the impact of Bt. If this is not done, and the fields are planted entirely in Bt cotton, the bollworm will rapidly develop resistance to Bt, and the infestation levels rise. A study this year discovered that a substantial portion of American farmers are not obeying the guidelines. See the EPA website at: ... bt_cotton_refuge_2001.htm

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