A synthesis of laboratory and field studies on the effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize on non-target Lepidoptera.

Lang, Andreas and Otto, Mathias. (2010) A synthesis of laboratory and field studies on the effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize on non-target Lepidoptera. Entomologia experimentalis et applicata, Vol. 135. pp. 121-134.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5842179

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One of the major applications of transgenic crops in agriculture are the so-called Bacillus thuringiensisBerliner (Bt) plants, in particular Bt maizes, which produce insecticidal Cry proteins that target specificorders, such as the Lepidoptera or Coleoptera. We reviewed publications that reported on thedirect toxic effects of Bt-maize and⁄ or Cry proteins of current Bt-maize events on larvae of non-targetbutterflies andmoths (Lepidoptera). In total, 20 peer-reviewed publications were identified, of which16 papers contributed laboratory-based data and seven field-based data. An adverse effect on caterpillars was recorded in 52% of all laboratory-based and in 21% of all field-based observations. The variables most often studied and having the highest occurrence of effects were larval survival, body mass, and developmental time. Parameters of the adult stage were under-represented in the studies.Overall, 11 lepidopteran species were tested. The majority of the studies originated from the USA, with the Monarch butterfly being the most studied, whereas other species and other parts of the world were widely neglected. Laboratory experiments were often run under unrealistic conditions from an ecological point of view. Although the papers we reviewed indicated a potential hazard for Lepidopterathat are exposed to and feed on lepidopteran-specific Bt-maize pollen, a general conclusion on thelevel of risk for butterflies and moths cannot as yet be drawn. A comprehensive risk characterizationwould require thorough hazard identification, exposure assessment, and impact assessment. However,our review showed that even the basic level of hazard characterization is as yet incomplete. Reasonsfor this are the still-limited numbers of publications and concurrent lack of knowledge, therestriction of data to only a few species, the over-representation of North American species, and theidentified limitations of both laboratory and field experiments. The findings of this review suggestthat more realistic, ecologically meaningful, and detailed experiments and analyses are crucial toimprove the present assessment of Bt-maize cultivation effects on Lepidoptera.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften (Alewell)
UniBasel Contributors:Lang, Andreas
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Last Modified:14 Sep 2012 07:22
Deposited On:14 Sep 2012 07:14

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