The following headline appeared in the scientific journal Nature on May 20, 1999:

Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae

In a brief article, the authors described their results from experiments in which larvae (the caterpillar life stage) of Monarch butterflies were fed milkweed leaves dusted with pollen from Bt corn plants. Over the course of four days, 44% of the caterpillars that ate Bt corn pollen died. The scientists fed another set of caterpillars milkweed leaves dusted with pollen from conventional corn, and fed a third set of caterpillars no pollen, only milkweed leaves, which are the normal diet for Monarch caterpillars. There were no deaths among the caterpillars that were fed conventional pollen or no pollen.

Caterpillar on a leaf dusted with Bt pollen. Forty-four percent of these caterpillars died. Caterpillar on a leaf dusted with conventional pollen. None of these caterpillars died. Caterpillar on a leaf, no pollen added. None of these caterpillars died.

Questions to consider:

Would you expect Bt corn pollen to kill Monarch butterfly larvae?

Would you expect Bt corn pollen to kill other insects in addition to Monarch butterfly larvae?

Would you expect other parts of a Bt corn plant to kill insects?


Photo courtesy of www.MonarchWatch.org

Do you have enough information to make a decision about the truth of the statement that "transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae"?

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No. Tell me more about:

Bt

Bt corn

corn pollen

Monarch butterflies

the experiment

the scientist


Is it true that "transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae"?

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No


Photo courtesy of www.MonarchWatch.org