The ability to transform crop plants to express the insecticidal toxins from B. thuringiensis is likely to have profound effects on the future of pest management. The benefits of the technology in terms of yield protection and reduced environmental disruption relative to synthetic insecticides must be balanced in terms of the uncertainty associated with risk to nontarget organisms, such as the monarch butterfly. The issue has drawn attention to an important aspect of genetic engineering. More attention needs to be directed at clarifying risk assessment and communicating that information, particularly to non-scientific audiences. The consortium of researchers, industry, and environmental advocacy groups that has been assembled to address concerns related to the monarch butterfly and Bt corn represents an unparalleled level of cooperation and is indicative of the product stewardship that is essential for the full benefits of the technology to be realized. One of the goals of the consortium is to develop high quality research data so that decision making is based on sound science.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/richard_hellmich/123/