Remember these two studies from November of last year that found detrimental effects of genetically engineered corn in mice?
- Genetically Modified Corn Found To Lower Fertility and Metabolism
- Mice Fed Genetically Modified Corn Suffer Immune Disturbances
Toxins In Transgenic Crop Byproducts May Affect Headwater Stream Ecosystems, PNAS, 2007
It's not about mice, but insects that inhabit streams near fields where genetically engineered (GE) corn is planted.
When these insects were fed the byproducts of a corn plant engineered to produce a toxic pesticide in every cell (Bt corn), they experienced reduced growth and increased mortality. Caddisflies (Lepidostoma liba), which are not considered a "target" for the pesticide:
"... had >50% lower growth rates when they were fed Bt corn litter compared with non-Bt corn litter (P=0.008)." (Lower growth rates reduce this species' ability to reproduce.)Caddisflies (Helicopsyche borealis) that ate Bt corn pollen had a significantly higher mortality (43%) than flies that didn't (18%).
This next part was incredible. The authors state:
"Previous research assumed that transgenic crop byproducts would remain on fields."And took these photos:
Click to enlarge.
(B) Illustrates a typical headwater agricultural stream during pollen shed with a buffer strip of grass and adjacent corn fields.
(C) Illustrates accumulations of corn byproducts after harvest.
"... that corn byproducts, such as pollen and detritus, enter headwater streams and are subject to storage, consumption, and transport to downstream water bodies.They warned that:
"toxin-containing crop byproducts are dispersed through the landscape by streams."
"Stream insects are important prey for aquatic and riparian predators, and widespread planting of Bt crops has unexpected ecosystem-scale consequences."I wouldn't want my dog or child playing near those streams. Then I realize we all eat the toxin-containing corn from those genetically engineered plants every day.