Thursday, April 21, 2011

Transgenic Plants

These two articles, Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae, and Monarch Bt-corn paper questioned, are controversial and both talk about the experiments done on monarch larvae fed on milkweed leaves dusted with pollen from N4640-Bt corn(a commercial variety containing a gene for an insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis protein as a defense against infestation with the European corn borer). These articles talk about the publication of peer-reviewed scientific publication which indicates that transgenic pollen kills larvae of the monarch butterfly. This paper caused contrasting responses among plant scientists and representatives of life science companies around the world. In their experiments and publication, John E. Losey, Linda S. Rayor, and Maureen E. Carter from the Department of Entomology at the Cornell University, show that the larvae of butterfly feed by leaves of genetically modified plant ate less, grew more slowly and had higher mortality than those fed plain leaves or leaves dusted with pollen from a nontransgenic corn line.This publication has been criticized by many scientists. Their critics were about a number of weaknesses of the paper, the poverty of experiments quantifications, the use of inappropriate controls, and the preliminary work gathered no direct evidence that the B. thuringiensis toxin in the maize pollen was the cause of death.
The reason why I chose these two articles, and like them, is the way they talk about pros and cons of Transgenic plants. The transgenic plans are very useful and needed nowadays, since they have many pros. Among of transgenic plants' pros, we can mention that, Transgenic plants are environmentally friendly, farmers can use few pesticide. In addition to that, Transgenic plats provide increase in the crops production, sicnce they give an improved yield. This yield is improved in making plants that have disease resistance, pest resistance, and stress tolerance all contributing to yield. Besides of these pros of transgenic plant, there may be also the cons. Among of cons,  there are some effects on non-targeted organisms, such as insects, in the food web. Moreover, there my be the movement of herbicide resistance to weeds. 
My point of view on these two controversial articles is that the genetically modified planst have to be produced due to their high crops that they give considered with those which are unmodified. The studies and researches must be carefully done, in order to have negligible impact on non-target organisms. For any publication, they might be criticisms about it; this is what shows its value. When I read throughout those two articles, I found that the critics were valuable, because these scientists, they really did not finalize their work before publishing it. Moreover, they were not sure if the results they have gotten are confirmed with their hypothesis as accepted by one of them, Losey. Anyways, transgenic plants are very needed, but the studies must continue about them in order to reduce their cons.

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