Originally posted on Science on the Land:
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) does what its name says it will do. Among other things, it promotes genetically modified (GM, genetically engineered, GE) crops. On the other side of this heated debate, GM Watch tells us what’s wrong with GM.
I propose ISAAA for the World’s Worst Acronym Award (WWAA ) but it’s a good source of information about GM crops. So is GM Watch. It’s worth looking at both of these contrasting points of view regarding the GM crops called Bt crops. These are the crops engineered to make Bt toxin, which kills insects. A common soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis makes a protein which turns into Bt toxin when insects eat it.
Organic farmers sometimes spray B. thuringiensis as a pesticide. This isn’t the same as planting Bt crops. You could scroll down the GM Watch homepage to see how Susan Pusztai explains. Organic farmers can choose to spray ‘a preparation of weakened or most often dead bacteria… only in the case of high insect infestation and only onto the affected area.’ Dr Pusztai says that this spraying puts no active toxin onto the land or onto the crops. Whereas in a Bt crop, active toxin appears in every tissue and every cell, all the time.