Last months several publications had shown how the use of Bt-crops do not harm the species that interact with them, but a new study demonstrate that its ecological effects are extended since they can promote biocontrol services in agricultural landscapes.
This month Nature had published a report from Chinese researches where they demonstrate that the use for the last 16 years of Bt-cotton had helped to control major insect pest and reduce the need for insecticide sprays. This reduction of broad-spectrum insecticides had resulted on an increase on arthropod, for instance ladybirds, lacewings and spiders, which are natural enemies of insects. As a result, this increase of natural predators of insects provides biological control of pests that could enhance biocontrol services. This research study show evidence that the predators might provide additional biocontrol services spilling over from Bt cotton fields onto neighbouring crops.
In addition to this added value of Bt- crops for agriculture, this specialized publication, and differently from the other publications demonstrating the non-ecological effects of Bt-crops, had reach a broader audience. BBC titled it as “GM crops ‘aid plant neighbours’”. In this article BBC explained the paper to its readers, showing a neutral point of view. In my opinion, BBC started to bring to discussion the advantage of using GM crops in agriculture, offering a strong counter argument to GM detractors.
You would like to read the BBC media release follwoing this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18424557 and within you will find the link to the original Nature publication