Running head: EFFECTS OF BT CORN ON THE ENVIRONMENT 1
Effectsof Bt corn on the environment
BtCorn effects on the environment and mammals
Inthis case, Bacillus (Bt) toxin component is genetically modified withplant crops as well as other herbicide materials to enhance theirtolerance. The inserted bacterium stores toxins proteins after theyhave been cloned. Overall, the natural plant crops DNA (genes) arealtered to enhance compatibility with (Bt) toxins. The contentiousissue is that, the regulators of Genetically Modified crops do nottest the toxicology of the GM crops as they simply assume that thenatural toxin introduced to the crop plants is only toxic to thedomain of small insects and not mammals (Ell strand, 2006).
However,this has been found to be misleading, the toxicity of the Bt in cropshave been found to be harmful to mammalian cells the toxins in plantcrops bind cell membranes leading to cell breaking. Recentscientific studies indicate that (Bt) modified crop plants causeddeaths to cows and mice after feeding on GM fodders. The toxins bindthe victims’ intestines cells creating physiological changes andother gut ultrastructure effects on the mammals. Other studies foundthat the (Bt) toxins were not fully digested in the mammalianalimentary canal and were passed through feces. However, research isstill ongoing to ascertain the toxicity and adverse effects relatedto such toxins (Taylor,Tick & Sherman, 2004).
Thenegative effects of Bt crop plants is worsened due to regulatoryshortcomings in the efficacy of research studies conducted. Inparticular, there are allegations that, Bt toxins used were derivedfrom other genes that are different from that of crops some analysiswere based on assumptions rather than empirical testing. Forinstance, the regulatory and advisory committees on GM crops assumedthat as long as the crop plant products had the toxin domain effectto the intended pests, they were not harmful to other environmentalaspects (NRC. 2002). It is also feared that, Bt toxin in crops leadsto accumulation of the toxins in the soils. In one study, Bt GM maizewas found to release toxins in the soil through roots exudations.These toxins are not taken up by plants from the soil and neither areplant exudates harmful to soil worms (Firbank,Heard & Woiwod, 2003).
However,some maize Bt toxins have been reported to have effects on some soilinsects species although more studies are still ongoing. In the sameline, it is feared that, some Bt toxins might cause seriousdestructions on beneficial predators that get lead of insect pests(Taylor, Tick & Sherman, 2004). The main environmental concernshave been the effect these Bt GM in creating pest resistance andcausing unintended effects on other non-target plant species(NRC.,2002). In particular, Bt has been overly criticized for causingadverse effects on Monarch butterflies larvae after consuming Bt cornpollen and other Bt plants flowers. In particular, the Cry1Ab toxinin Bt maize has far been proved to be toxic to beneficial insects,mammals and increasing soil toxicology (Ellstrand, 2006).
Inthe same line, there are fears that Bt GM crops would lead tounintended transgenic crops through feral crop descendants cropsthat results into been new weeds or unintended crop hybrids thatwould lead to more environmental problems. Another fear is that,transgenic crops may enhance increased aggressiveness to someuncultivated plants like certain forage grasses, rice and turfs(Firbank, Heard & Woiwod, 2003). These plants find feralpollution growths even after cultivating land, and this problem couldincrease. As a result, of changed traits in the event of Btmodifications (NRC. 2002). According to scientific assessment,transgenic crops pose severe and reasonable danger on theenvironment, mammals and other non-target effects (Taylor, Tick &Sherman, 2004). Although much controversy surrounds the GM cropplants, more research is needed to delineate and ascertain whethertransgenic plants pose putative risks or not (Ell strand, 2006).
Ellstrand Norman C. 2006. Scientists, evaluate potential environmentalrisks of transgenic crops. CaliforniaAgriculture.Vol. 60. No. 3. Retrieved on July 27, 2014 fromhttp://californiaagriculture.ucanr.edu/landingpage.cfm?article=ca.v060n03p119&fulltext=yes
FirbankLG. Heard MS, Woiwod IP. 2003. Methodological insights: Anintroduction to the farm-scale evaluations of genetically modifiedherbicide for tolerant crops. Journalof Applied Ecololgy.40:16.
NRC.2002. Environmental Effects of Transgenic Plants: The scope andAdequacy of Regulation. Washington Dc: Nat. Acad. Pr. 320p.
TaylorMR, Tick JS, Sherman DM. 2004. Tending the fields: The State andFederal Roles in the oversight of Genetically Modified Crops. PewInitiative on Food and Biotechnology,Washington, DC. 157p.