GM moth trial gets a green light from USDA | Science News

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GM moth trial gets a green light from USDA

Diamondback moths with a lethal gene could help control crop pest

By
1:11pm, July 14, 2017
diamondback moth

NOM NOM NOM  In their caterpillar phase, diamondback moths can wreak havoc on a cabbage patch. A newly approved field trial aims to test whether a GM strain could reduce their damage.

Cabbage-chomping moths genetically modified to be real lady-killers may soon take flight in upstate New York. On July 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture OK’d a small open-air trial of GM diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella), which the agency says do not pose a threat to human or environmental health.

These male moths carry a gene that kills female offspring before they mature. Having fewer females available for mating cuts overall moth numbers, so releasing modified male moths in crop fields would theoretically nip an outbreak and reduce insecticide use.

Originally from Europe, diamondback moths have quite the rap sheet:

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