" "
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

Join For Free

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 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,200+ 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

New Device Reduces Time to Diagnose Infections
A new diagnostic device created by a collaborative team of UA engineers and scientists may significantly reduce the amount of time necessary to diagnose tissue infections.
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
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
Microdroplet Reactors Mimic Living Systems
Researchers use microdroplets to study non-equilibrium reactions like those in living organisms.
NIH Researchers Identify Striking Genomic Signature for Cancer
Institute has identified striking signature shared by five types of cancer.
CRI Develops Innovative Approach for Identifying Lung Cancer
Institute has developed innovative approach for identifying processes that fuel tumor growth in lung cancer patients.
Envigo Rat Models Proven to be Susceptible to Intra-Vaginal HSV-2 Infection and Protectable
Scientific findings establish the effectiveness of new approach to investigate the protective effects of vaccine candidates and anti-viral microbodies and to study asymptomatic primary genital HSV-2 infection.
Food Triggers Creation of Regulatory T Cells
IBS researchers document how normal diet establishes immune tolerance conditions in the small intestine.
Light Signals from Living Cells
Fluorescent protein markers delivered under high pressure.
Counting Cancer-busting Oxygen Molecules
Researchers from the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), an Australian Research Centre of Excellence, have shown that nanoparticles used in combination with X-rays, are a viable method for killing cancer cells deep within the living body.
Therapeutic Approach Gives Hope for Multiple Myeloma
A new therapeutic approach tested by a team from Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSSS-EST, Montreal) and the University of Montreal gives promising results for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow currently considered incurable with conventional chemotherapy and for which the average life expectancy is about 6 or 7 years.
Cellular 'Relief Valve'
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has solved a long-standing mystery in cell biology by showing essentially how a key “relief-valve” in cells does its job.
Genomic Signature Shared by Five Types of Cancer
National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a striking signature in tumor DNA that occurs in five different types of cancer.
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
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!