Genetically Modified Organisms for Pest Management: Environmental Impact uri icon


  • Recombinant DNA technology has been exploited to develop geneticallymodified organisms (GMOs) for pest management that retain the advantagesof classical biological control agents, but have fewer or none of theirdrawbacks. Genes conferring resistance to insects, particularly the5-endotoxin genes from the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis have beeninserted into several crop plants, of which insect-resistant cotton, maize,rice, tomato, and potato have been deployed commercially on a large-scalefor pest management. Genetic engineering techniques can also be used forproducing robust natural enemies, and more stable and virulent strains ofbacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa, and nematodes for use in integratedpest management. Deployment of insect-resistant transgenic plants for pestcontrol will lead to a substantial reduction in insecticide use, reducedexposure of farm labor to insecticides, reduction in harmful effects ofinsecticides to nontarget organisms, and reduced amounts of insecticideresidues in food and food products. Gene introgression through transgenicapproach could also be beneficial in the sense that it adds diversity to thegenetic pool of the crop plants. However, transgenics are not a panacea forsolving all the pest problems, and concerns regarding the biosafety of GMOsto the environment are still inconclusive, and there is a continuous debateregarding their nontarget effects in the environment. There is a concernthat large-scale deployment of GMOs for pest management might influence

publication date

  • 2012