Volume 94 Issue 37 | pp. 8-9 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 19, 2016

Insecticidal fern proteins protect genetically modified cotton from pests

The newly created plants are the first to ward off whitefly-inflicted damage in cotton fields
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Environmental SCENE
Keywords: biotechnology, genetic engineering, insecticide, transgenic cotton, agriculture

Cotton farmers have a fight to pick with whiteflies. The sap-sucking insects stunt crop growth, and their sticky excrement fosters detrimental fungal infections. Whiteflies also carry hoards of viruses that can wipe out entire fields. Farmers often plant genetically modified (GM) crops including corn, soybeans, and cotton that produce their own insecticides called Bt toxins. But whiteflies are unfazed by Bt toxins, leaving cotton fields defenseless. That inspired Pradhyumna Kumar Singh of India’s . . .

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