Genetic Engineering: The Future Insecticide?

May 17, 2018 | Sustainable Agriculture |

As some of you may recall, we invited our readers to take part in a study conducted in Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science School by taking a survey on GMOs in Ag. We wanted to share the results.

For some background, several students  in the School conducted a study on the public perception of genetically engineered insects in agriculture as a form of pest management. Effective pest management techniques limit the amount of damage that pests or insects do to a certain crop. Genetically modified insects have the potential to be a clean and sustainable way to combat insect pests without the use of pesticides and insecticides. The study focused specifically on the diamondback moth, a pest that wreaks havoc on many vegetable crops, costing  farmers about $4-5 billion with crop loss and the additional costs of synthetic and organic insecticides, which the moth has become resistant to. Shelton labs, in upstate NY, has developed genetically modified male diamondback moths that pass on a gene that limits the ability of their female offspring to reproduce, thus limiting the population of the species. These Cornell students conducted their study in order to determine what the public opinion is of using the genetically modified moth.

The survey had a total of 132 respondents; most respondents completed the survey via social media as well as via Dirt-to-Dinner. The survey results show a wide acceptance of this type of genetic modification; furthermore, the respondents support GE pest control over traditional pesticide methods.  The results of the survey are below – thanks to our D2D readers who participated!

For more information on this study, please visit https://shelton.entomology.cornell.edu/diamondbackmoth/diamondback-moth-project-at-cornell-university-faq/