GM crops containing proteins coming from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) offer economic, environmental, and health benefits by maintaining or improving production with fewer insecticide use. To sustain these advantages, the pests must be prevented from developing resistance to the Bt proteins, and non-target organisms must not be affected by the Bt proteins. Vip3A, a Bt vegetative insecticidal protein that works against lepidopterous pests such as moth and butterfly, has a different mode of action from other proteins and when combined with other proteins helps delay the evolution of pest resistance to Bt crops.
Scientists Alam Raybould and Demetra Vlachos of Syngenta studied the effects of Vip3A on non-target organisms. They also conducted an ecological risk assessment of MIR162 maize, the line that expresses Vip3A. Results showed that 11 out of 12 non-target species are not affected by exposure to high concentrations of Vip3A. The waterflea, a non-target organism, showed no effects in survival or fecundity but exhibited a slight change in the rate of growth. Therefore, cultivation of MIR162 poses insignificant risk to non-target organisms.
The research paper published by Transgenic Research Journal is available at http://www.springerlink.com/content/h76276g55705t602/fulltext.html