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A Comprehensive Assessment of the Effects of Bt Cotton on Coleomegilla maculata Demonstrates No Detrimental Effects by Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab

1,2, 3, 1, 2, 1,*

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      Abstract

      The ladybird beetle, Coleomegilla maculata (DeGeer), is a common and abundant predator in many cropping systems. Its larvae and adults are predaceous, feeding on aphids, thrips, lepidopteran larvae and plant tissues, such as pollen. Therefore, this species is exposed to insecticidal proteins expressed in insect-resistant, genetically engineered cotton expressing Cry proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). A tritrophic bioassay was conduced to evaluate the potential impact of Cry2Ab- and Cry1Ac-expressing cotton on fitness parameters of C. maculata using Bt-susceptible and -resistant larvae of Trichoplusia ni as prey. Coleomegilla maculata survival, development time, adult weight and fecundity were not different when they were fed with resistant T. ni larvae reared on either Bt or control cotton. To ensure that C. maculata were not sensitive to the tested Cry toxins independent from the plant background and to add certainty to the hazard assessment, C. maculata larvae were fed artificial diet incorporated with Cry2Ab, Cry1Ac or both at >10 times higher concentrations than in cotton tissue. Artificial diet containing E-64 was included as a positive control. No differences were detected in any life-table parameters between Cry protein-containing diet treatments and the control diet. In contrast, larvae of C. maculata fed the E-64 could not develop to the pupal stage and the 7-d larval weight was significantly negatively affected. In both feeding assays, the stability and bioactivity of Cry proteins in the food sources were confirmed by ELISA and sensitive-insect bioassays. Our results show that C. maculata is not affected by Bt cotton and is not sensitive to Cry2Ab and Cry1Ac at concentrations exceeding the levels in Bt cotton, thus demonstrating that Bt cotton will pose a negligible risk to C. maculata. More importantly, this study demonstrates a comprehensive system for assessing the risk of genetically modified plants on non-target organisms.

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      Recommendations for the design of laboratory studies on non-target arthropods for risk assessment of genetically engineered plants

      This paper provides recommendations on experimental design for early-tier laboratory studies used in risk assessments to evaluate potential adverse impacts of arthropod-resistant genetically engineered (GE) plants on non-target arthropods (NTAs). While we rely heavily on the currently used proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in this discussion, the concepts apply to other arthropod-active proteins. A risk may exist if the newly acquired trait of the GE plant has adverse effects on NTAs when they are exposed to the arthropod-active protein. Typically, the risk assessment follows a tiered approach that starts with laboratory studies under worst-case exposure conditions; such studies have a high ability to detect adverse effects on non-target species. Clear guidance on how such data are produced in laboratory studies assists the product developers and risk assessors. The studies should be reproducible and test clearly defined risk hypotheses. These properties contribute to the robustness of, and confidence in, environmental risk assessments for GE plants. Data from NTA studies, collected during the analysis phase of an environmental risk assessment, are critical to the outcome of the assessment and ultimately the decision taken by regulatory authorities on the release of a GE plant. Confidence in the results of early-tier laboratory studies is a precondition for the acceptance of data across regulatory jurisdictions and should encourage agencies to share useful information and thus avoid redundant testing.
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        A tiered system for assessing the risk of genetically modified plants to non-target organisms.

        Representatives of the developers of modern agricultural biotechnology are proposing a tiered approach for conducting non-target organism risk assessment for genetically modified (GM) plants in Europe. The approach was developed by the Technical Advisory Group of the EuropaBio Plant Biotechnology Unit (http://www.europabio.org/TAG.htm) and complements other international activities to harmonize risk assessment. In the European Union (EU), the principles and methods to be followed in an environmental risk assessment for the placing on the market of GM plants are laid out in Annex II of Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs, Commission Decision 2002/623/EC and Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003. Additional information is provided in the European Food Safety Authority guidance document of 2004. However, risk assessment for effects to non-target organisms could benefit from further clarification and remains the subject of much discussion in Europe. The industry-wide approach developed by EuropaBio is based on the fundamental steps of risk evaluation, namely hazard and exposure assessment. It follows a structured scheme including assessment planning, product characterization and assessment of hazard/exposure (Tier 0), single high dose and dose response testing (Tier 1), refined hazard characterization and exposure assessment (Tier 2) and further refined risk assessment experiments (Tier 3). An additional tier (Tier 4) was included to reflect the fact that post-market activities such as monitoring are required under Directive 2001/18/EC. The approach is compatible with conditions of commercial release in the EU and around the world.
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          Nutritional suitability of corn pollen for the predator Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae).

          The nutritional suitability of corn pollen for the facultatively phytophagous predator Coleomegilla maculata was studied in the laboratory. Dry matter, organic matter, ash, crude protein, amino acid, and quercetin contents of pollen from 10 hybrids of field corn were determined. C. maculata were reared on pollen or aphids + artificial diet for their entire lives; larval duration, post-mortem adult dry weights, fecundity within 7 days of mating, and mortality rates were compared among the treatments. In another experiment, C. maculata larvae were reared on pollen; weight gained, pollen ingested, and frass produced were compared among instars. Also, consumption relative to increases in larval biomass and the efficiency with which larvae converted corn pollen into biomass were compared among instars. Beetles reared on aphids had greater weights and fecundity and a shorter larval duration relative to the pollen-fed beetles. The percentages of organic matter and ash in corn pollen were significantly correlated with C. maculata mortality, and we hypothesize that some micronutrient or phytochemical is at sub-optimal levels for C. maculata development in some of the pollens. We observed an increase in the conversion efficiency of pollen and a decrease in the consumption relative to biomass of C. maculata as the larvae aged, which suggests a physiological or behavioral alteration in the feeding behavior of C. maculata during the larval stage.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1]Department of Entomology, Cornell University/NYSAES, Geneva, New York, United States of America
            [2]State Key Laboratory of Plant Disease and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Beijing, China
            [3]Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, Zurich, Switzerland
            Cairo University, Egypt
            Author notes

            Conceived and designed the experiments: YL JR PW AMS. Performed the experiments: YL. Analyzed the data: YL YP. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: PW. Wrote the paper: YL JR PW AMS YP.

            Contributors
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA)
            1932-6203
            2011
            12 July 2011
            : 6
            : 7
            3134477
            21765949
            PONE-D-11-00645
            10.1371/journal.pone.0022185
            (Editor)
            This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
            Counts
            Pages: 7
            Categories
            Research Article
            Agriculture
            Agricultural Biotechnology
            Genetically Modified Organisms
            Sustainable Agriculture
            Biology
            Biotechnology
            Genetic Engineering
            Genetically Modified Organisms
            Plant Biotechnology
            Genetically Modified Organisms

            Uncategorized

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