Insect Resistance in Corn Through Biotechnology

  • Graham HeadEmail author
  • Dannette Ward
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 63)

The first corn hybrids with insect resistance traits introduced through biotechnological methods were commercialized in 1996 in the USA (Mendelsohn et al. 2003; James 2006). These products were targeted at lepidopteran pests of corn, particularly stem borers such as the European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis and earfeeding insects such as the corn earworm Helicoverpa zea that are difficult to control using conventional insecticides. Subsequently, a suite of comparable products containing lepidopteran-active insecticidal proteins derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have been introduced. These so-called Bt corn hybrids have since been adopted on tens of millions of hectares (James 2006). In addition, Bt corn hybrids containing coleopteran-active insecticidal proteins that control the larvae of the damaging corn rootworm complex (Diabrotica spp.) have been developed. Increasingly corn farmers are purchasing hybrids with combinations of these insect resistance traits (both lepidopteran and coleopteran pest protection), along with herbicide-tolerance traits for improved weed control (James 2006; Brookes and Barfoot 2007). In this chapter, we will describe the nature of current Bt corn products in more detail; the economic and environmental impacts of these technologies on corn-growing in the USA and globally; and the reasons why farmers have adopted these technologies so enthusiastically.


European Corn Borer Herbicide Tolerance Cry1Ab Protein Western Corn Rootworm Econ Entomol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monsanto Company, 800 North Lindbergh BlvdUSA

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