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      Estimating the effects of Cry1F Bt-maize pollen on non-target Lepidoptera using a mathematical model of exposure

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          1. In farmland biodiversity, a potential risk to the larvae of non-target Lepidoptera from genetically modified (GM) Bt-maize expressing insecticidal Cry1 proteins is the ingestion of harmful amounts of pollen deposited on their host plants. A previous mathematical model of exposure quantified this risk for Cry1Ab protein. We extend this model to quantify the risk for sensitive species exposed to pollen containing Cry1F protein from maize event 1507 and to provide recommendations for management to mitigate this risk.

          2. A 14-parameter mathematical model integrating small- and large-scale exposure was used to estimate the larval mortality of hypothetical species with a range of sensitivities, and under a range of simulated mitigation measures consisting of non- Bt maize strips of different widths placed around the field edge.

          3. The greatest source of variability in estimated mortality was species sensitivity. Before allowance for effects of large-scale exposure, with moderate within-crop host-plant density and with no mitigation, estimated mortality locally was <10% for species of average sensitivity. For the worst-case extreme sensitivity considered, estimated mortality locally was 99·6% with no mitigation, although this estimate was reduced to below 40% with mitigation of 24-m-wide strips of non- Bt maize. For highly sensitive species, a 12-m-wide strip reduced estimated local mortality under 1·5%, when within-crop host-plant density was zero. Allowance for large-scale exposure effects would reduce these estimates of local mortality by a highly variable amount, but typically of the order of 50-fold.

          4. Mitigation efficacy depended critically on assumed within-crop host-plant density; if this could be assumed negligible, then the estimated effect of mitigation would reduce local mortality below 1% even for very highly sensitive species.

          5. Synthesis and applications. Mitigation measures of risks of Bt-maize to sensitive larvae of non-target lepidopteran species can be effective, but depend on host-plant densities which are in turn affected by weed-management regimes. We discuss the relevance for management of maize events where cry1F is combined (stacked) with a herbicide-tolerance trait. This exemplifies how interactions between biota may occur when different traits are stacked irrespective of interactions between the proteins themselves and highlights the importance of accounting for crop management in the assessment of the ecological impact of GM plants.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Ecological impacts of early 21st century agricultural change in Europe--a review.

           C Stoate,  A Baldi,  P Beja (2009)
          The impacts of agricultural land use are far-reaching and extend to areas outside production. This paper provides an overview of the ecological status of agricultural systems across the European Union in the light of recent policy changes. It builds on the previous review of 2001 devoted to the impacts of agricultural intensification in Western Europe. The focus countries are the UK, The Netherlands, Boreal and Baltic countries, Portugal, Hungary and Romania, representing a geographical spread across Europe, but additional reference is made to other countries. Despite many adjustments to agricultural policy, intensification of production in some regions and concurrent abandonment in others remain the major threat to the ecology of agro-ecosystems impairing the state of soil, water and air and reducing biological diversity in agricultural landscapes. The impacts also extend to surrounding terrestrial and aquatic systems through water and aerial contamination and development of agricultural infrastructures (e.g. dams and irrigation channels). Improvements are also documented regionally, such as successful support of farmland species, and improved condition of watercourses and landscapes. This was attributed to agricultural policy targeted at the environment, improved environmental legislation, and new market opportunities. Research into ecosystem services associated with agriculture may provide further pressure to develop policy that is targeted at their continuous provisioning, fostering motivation of land managers to continue to protect and enhance them.
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            Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae.

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              A meta-analysis of effects of Bt cotton and maize on nontarget invertebrates.

              Although scores of experiments have examined the ecological consequences of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops, debates continue regarding the nontarget impacts of this technology. Quantitative reviews of existing studies are crucial for better gauging risks and improving future risk assessments. To encourage evidence-based risk analyses, we constructed a searchable database for nontarget effects of Bt crops. A meta-analysis of 42 field experiments indicates that nontarget invertebrates are generally more abundant in Bt cotton and Bt maize fields than in nontransgenic fields managed with insecticides. However, in comparison with insecticide-free control fields, certain nontarget taxa are less abundant in Bt fields.

                Author and article information

                J Appl Ecol
                J Appl Ecol
                The Journal of Applied Ecology
                Blackwell Publishing Ltd (Oxford, UK )
                February 2012
                : 49
                : 1
                : 29-37
                [1 ]simpleOaklands Barn, Lug’s Lane, Broome Norfolk NR35 2HT, UK
                [2 ]simpleEuropean Food Safety Authority, GMO Unit Largo Natale Palli 5/A, IT-43121 Parma, Italy
                [3 ]simpleItalian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Environment, Research Centre Trisaia IT-75026 Rotondella, Italy
                [4 ]simpleFederal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety Mauerstrasse 39-42, DE-10117 Berlin, Germany
                [5 ]simpleCEH-Wallingford, Maclean Building, Crowmarsh Gifford Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8BB, UK
                [6 ]simpleAarhus University, NERI, Department of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark
                [7 ]simpleSzent István University, Plant Protection Institute Pater K. 1, HU-2100 Gödöllo˝, Hungary
                [8 ]simpleINRA, Unité Eco-Innov, BP1 Campus de Grignon FR-78850 Thiveral-Grignon, France
                [9 ]simpleBüro für Landschaftsökologie und Umweltstudien Muehlenweg 60, D-29358 Eicklingen, Germany
                [10 ]simpleUniversità di Pisa, Facoltà di Agraria, Dipartimento di Biologia delle Piante Agrarie Via del Borghetto 80, IT-56124 Pisa, Italy
                [11 ]simpleSweet Environmental Consultants 6 The Green, Willingham, Cambridge CB24 5JA, UK
                [12 ]simpleJohann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute, Institute for Biodiversity Bundesallee 50, DE-38116 Braunschweig, Germany
                Author notes
                Correspondence author. E-mail: joe.perry@

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                © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society

                Re-use of this article is permitted in accordance with the Creative Commons Deed, Attribution 2.5, which does not permit commercial exploitation.

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