Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Combining Bt Cotton, Sterile Insects Prevents Destruction of Cotton Plants

Published: Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Bookmark and Share
University of Arizona researchers have found that combining pest-resistant cotton and large numbers of sterile moths will prevent these destructive insects from damaging cotton plants in Arizona.

Bruce Tabashnik, study leader and department head of entomology in the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has used pest-resistant cotton and the release of sterile pink bollworm moths as a type of birth control that will help prevent destruction against cotton plants. Tabashnik and his team targeted caterpillars of the pink bollworm as the enemy. These insects, which were first discovered in 1917, are one of the top destroyers of cotton plants worldwide. To remedy this issue, researchers used computer simulations to analyze over a decade of field data before conducting tests. Once testing began, Tabashnik used Bt cotton, which is a genetically engineered crop that contains a gene taken from the bacterium Bacillus thuringensis and gives the plant a protein capable of killing certain insects. But Bt cotton cannot kill off cotton-destroying insects alone because it only kills certain insects, not all. Fortunately, pink bollworm caterpillars fall into the category of insects that are killed after eating Bt cotton, but the problem is that these caterpillars can become resistant to the toxins after a period of time, rendering the Bt cotton useless to a certain extent. "The most widely used strategy to delay resistance is to set aside refuges...patches with regular, non Bt cotton where the pest can feed without ingesting the Bt cotton," said Tabashnik. "If you plant Bt cotton with no refuges, the vast majority of the caterpillars will die, but a tiny fraction will be resistant. These rare resistant survivors will emerge as adults and mate with each other." Refuges make it so a majority of the insect population is non-resistant to the toxins. Since the amount of non-resistant caterpillars/moths outnumber those who are resistant, the chances of two resistant insects mating are slim. But the problem is that the pests are still alive and reproducing, whether they're resistant or not, thus destroying cotton plants. Refuges do not completely resolve the issue. To keep unwanted visitors away from the cotton plants, researchers obtained large numbers of pink bollworms and sterilized them. Then, the sterile bollworms were released into the crop fields to block reproduction. "When a sterile moth mates with a fertile, wild moth, the progeny won't be fertile," said Tabashnik. "The sterile insects soak up the reproductive potential of the wild population. If you have a high enough ratio of sterile to wild moths, you can drive the reproduction of the wild population to zero." Tabashnik and his team began testing this strategy in 2006. It is the first method of pest control that combines Bt cotton and sterile moths. As it turns out, this strategy has proved to be very effective. From 1990 to 1995, cotton growers lost $18 million per year to the management of pink bollworm. From the time Tabashnik and his team began testing until 2009, the pink bollworm population decreased by 99.9 percent. In 2009, only two pink bollworm larvae were found in 16,600 bolls of non-Bt cotton in Arizona. Along with this decreased population came a large reduction in insecticide spray purchases. Between 2006 and 2009, cotton growers' cost to manage pink bollworm fell from $18 million to $172,000. "We are running the pesticide treadmill in reverse," said Tabashnik. "Our new approach has resulted in huge environmental gains. We are using cutting-edge technology to create sustainable cotton farming practices." This study was published in Nature Biotechnology on November 7.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Researchers Reveal Elusive Molecule
A long-standing chemistry puzzle has been solved, with potential implications ranging from industrial processes to atmospheric chemistry.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Researchers Link Liver Disease and Drug Metabolism
Researchers have discovered that nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, an increasingly common but often undiagnosed liver disease, could have significant medical implications for people with type 2 diabetes.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Scientists Develop An intensity-incorporated Protein Identification Algorithm for Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Scientists from the University of Arizona, have identified a protein identification algorithm, called SeQuence IDentfication (SQID), which makes use of the coarse intensity from a statistical analysis.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Gene transfer from transgenic crops: A more realistic picture
A comprehensive, data-driven statistical model including the surrounding landscape, pollinating insects and human seed dispersal allows for more accurate prediction of gene flow between crop plants
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Genes may Hold Keys to How Humans Learn
New research has implications not only for those with Parkinson's, but developing teaching strategies for students as well, researchers say.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Scientific News
Sorting Through Cellular Statistics
Aaron Dinner, professor in chemistry, and his graduate student Herman Gudjonson are trying to read the manual of life, DNA, as part of the Dinner group’s research into bioinformatics—the application of statistics to biological research.
Playing 'Tag' with Pollution lets Scientists See Who's It
Using a climate model that can tag sources of soot from different global regions and can track where it lands on the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have determined which areas around the plateau contribute the most soot — and where.
Women’s Immune System Genes Operate Differently from Men’s
A new technology reveals that immune system genes switch on and off differently in women and men, and the source of that variation is not primarily in the DNA.
Long Telomeres Associated with Increased Lung Cancer Risk
Genetic predisposition for long telomeres predicts increased lung adenocarcinoma risk.
First Artificial Ribosome Designed
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell.
High-Resolution 3D Images Reveal the Muscle Mitochondrial Power Grid
NIH mouse study overturns scientific ideas on energy distribution in muscle.
Expanding the Brain
A team of researchers has identified more than 40 new “imprinted” genes, in which either the maternal or paternal copy of a gene is expressed while the other is silenced.
Identifying a Key Growth Factor in Cell Proliferation
Researchers discover that aspartate is a limiter of cell proliferation.
Study Uncovers Target for Preventing Huntington’s Disease
Scientists from Cardiff University believe that a treatment to prevent or delay the symptoms of Huntington’s disease could now be much closer, following a major breakthrough.
Paving the way to Better Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
Aïcha BenTaieb will present her invention for automated identification of ovarian cancer’s many subtypes at an international conference this fall.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!