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Bt corn variety OK for black swallowtails

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1:09pm, December 3, 2002

The first published field study of Bt corn and butterflies—and the first check for any Bt-pollen risks to black swallowtails—finds no harm from a common corn variety, say researchers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bt corn makes its own pesticide, thanks to genetic material borrowed from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. The pattern of pollen wafting from Bt corn variety Pioneer 34R07 showed no relationship to the pattern of deaths among black swallowtail caterpillars on nearby wild plants, report C. Lydia Wraight, May R. Berenbaum, and their Illinois colleagues. Their paper will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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