Re: Rachel #63, archive 747
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- Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 21:42:07 +1300
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Have you sent your comments to Peter Montague
for his consideration?
>. RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY #637
>. ---February 11, 1999--- .
>. HEADLINES: .
THE GRAIN .
Among the many comments in this
article that are misleading or just plain wrong, the following stand out and
>new genetically engineered seeds
require high-quality soils,
>enormous investment in machinery, and
increased use of
Blatantly wrong. The key genes have
been introduced into widely used current varieties and require no more special
treatment than do the traditional versions of the same varieties. In fact, the
insect resistant crops require much less chemical.
evidence that their per-acre yields are
>about 10% lower than
traditional varieties (at least in the case
Also wrong, the clearest evidence of which is that growers are so
happy with yields that they are planting even more land to the crops.
>The plain fact is that fully two-thirds of the
>engineered crops now available, or in development, are
>specifically to increase the sale of pesticides produced by
>companies that are selling the genetically
Perhaps true but certainly
misleading. The farmers may be using more of Monsanto's herbicide but they are
using a lot less of the competition's pesticides, which are generally more
>Monsanto's other major line of genetically
>contains the gene from a natural pesticide called
Bt.... Farmers who try to
>minimize their use of synthetic chemical
pesticides rely on an
>occasional dusting with Bt to prevent a crop from
>with leaf-eating caterpillars....
already evolved to Bt in the diamondback moth in at least 10 countries. Far
from "an occasional dusting", Bt is used as often as 3 times a week.
Resistance occurred in as little as 4 years. While I was in New York, potato
growers used Bt up to 6 times a season.
We have already demonstrated
that transgenic crops can actually make Bt last longer than Bt sprays:
Roush, R.T. 1994.
Managing pests and their resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis: Can
transgenic crops be better than sprays? Biocontrol Sci. Technol.
Shelton, A. M., Tang, J. D., Roush, R. T. and
Earle, E. D. 1998. Can we manage resistance to Bt-engineered plants? Results
of greenhouse and field tests. Proceedings of the Sixth Australian Applied
Entomological Research Conference, Brisbane, Australia, October 1998. pp.