When genetically enhanced corn varieties designed to resist European corn borers were first released in 1994, there was resistance from some producers skeptical of the benefits as well as those fearful of genetic modification and members of the pro-organic community.
A report in the Oct. 8, 2010, issue of the journal Science showed that Bt corn varieties--corn genetically engineered to produce insect-killing proteins isolated from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)--provide significant economic benefits even to neighboring farmers who grow non-transgenic varieties of corn.
A short refresher: Bt corn provides a built-in defense against attacks by the larvae of European corn borers and other insect pests. Larvae that ingest the Bt protein soon stop feeding and die, typically within 48 hours. Bt corn has been adopted on about 63 percent of the 87 million U.S. corn acres.