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Old 09-11-2019, 02:24 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Many of the other common GMO's are modified so as to express a pesticide throughout the plant, and the whole time the plant is growing in the field. This doesn't reduce the use of the pesticide, it increases it. The fact that the application is done through the plant and not by a sprayer doesn't mean it's reducing the use.
I think you're misunderstanding that one a little bit; it's not like they've somehow engineered these plants to somehow start producing malathion in their tissues or anything like that. They're generally existing anti-insect chemicals- usually from other plants or from bacteria.

The one I'm most familiar with is the Bt maize that Ruken refers to. It's corn that's been genetically modified to express specific proteins (Cry proteins) that a certain sort of bacteria(bacillus thuringiensis) naturally produce, and which specifically messes up insect digestive systems, due to the fact that they're highly alkaline, as opposed to the digestive systems of birds, mammals, etc.. Different species of Bt produce different proteins, which affect different sorts of insects.

In fact, Bt bacteria is used, like Ruken also describes, by organic farmers who spray it or dust it on their crops, and is generally considered non-toxic.

So it's not like it's an "insecticide" in the common usage of the term- it's much more benign than that.