Published in the Nature Biotechnology journal by researchers from the University of Arizona in the United States, the study examines 36 cases looking at how insects react to the crops. Significantly, as of 2016, the data shows a dramatically reduced efficacy of the poisons in 16 cases, with early warning signs in a further 3 cases.
This represents a huge increase from the mere 3 cases of resistance that had been observed by 2005.
Overall, resistance or early warning signs of it were found in a majority (19) of the 36 cases examined.
The data analyzed in the assessment represents the responses of 15 insects in 10 countries on every continent apart from Antarctica. Particularly worryingly, in the 16 cases cited where the insects developed outright resistance, it occurred within an average of only 5 years.
The study therefore provides clear evidence that, in promoting the use of genetically modified (GM) crops, governments are recklessly placing the profit interests of multibillion dollar biotech companies before those of the environment.
Crop spraying near St Mary Bourne - geograph.org.uk
Arguing that the United States government should now change its position and require labeling of GM foods, the authors describe how sharp increases have taken place in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops and that still further increases - the largest in a generation - are scheduled to occur in the next few years.
With GM crops being the
agricultural products most heavily treated with herbicides, the
authors state that the time has come to thoroughly reconsider all
aspects of the safety of plant biotechnology.
In a study published in the Science Advances journal only a year later in August 2016, a group of scientists from the United States found that widespread adoption of GM crops has increased the use of herbicides due to weeds also developing resistance.
The largest study of GM crops ever carried out, it showed that farmers growing GM soybeans are now using 28 percent more herbicides than those who grow non-GM varieties.
This is the real reason why biotech companies see them as a highly attractive investment proposition.
Patents on GM seeds, and
the multibillion dollar potential profits and market control that
may result from them, act as powerful incentives for companies to
find ways of forcing GM foods onto consumers' dinner plates -
regardless of the dangers to human health.
Whether we are talking about GM seeds, drugs or synthetic chemicals, the strategy is precisely the same:
To the companies and
industries that engage in these practices, the health interests of
people are essentially irrelevant. All that matters is controlling
multibillion dollar global markets and fulfilling the commercial
greed of shareholders.
With insects rapidly developing resistance to GM crops and the only answers offered involving further modification of genes and other strategies that can merely delay but not prevent resistance, the future for the biotech industry looks bleak.
But in terms of the health and environmental interests of the people of the world, that can only be seen as very good news indeed...