DUNDEE, SCOTLAND. Biotechnologists at the Scottish Crop Research Institute and
Cambridge University have just released a report providing evidence that
ladybirds feeding on aphids found on genetically engineered potato plants die
prematurely. Their experiment involved potato plants which had been engineered
to kill aphids. While the potato plants did indeed prove lethal to some aphids
the effects on the ladybirds feeding on the aphids were far more disturbing.
Female ladybirds feeding on the "contaminated" aphids lived only half as long as
ladybirds feeding on "normal" aphids and laid up to 30 per cent fewer viable
eggs. The Scottish report comes hard on the heels of a study published by
France's national agricultural research institute. This study found that
engineered rapeseed plants spread their genes to surrounding plants and weeds
thereby making them more resistant to herbicides. If the findings of the French
study are verified it would mean that one of the primary purposes of genetic
engineering, namely to make crops resistant to herbicide sprays, would no longer
be viable. These recent findings have hardened the steadily growing resistance
to genetic engineering in Europe.