Applications and Ethics of Genetic Engineering



Additional Research and More Conclusions

Monarch Butterfly

A Monarch butterfly

A great deal of time and money had been invested to develop Bt corn. When Cornell University scientists published their study on the effects of Bt corn pollen on monarch caterpillars, there was a rush to do more studies to see how great the concern should be. Several different research groups conducted a number of different studies to follow up the Cornell results.

Explore the follow-up research on monarchs and Bt corn pollen. Access the “Bt Corn Risk to Monarchs is ‘Negligible’” EBSCOhost databases™ article using the directions below. Read the article. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What two types of tests were conducted to see if monarch caterpillars are harmed by Bt corn?
  2. What did the field tests reveal about where monarch butterflies tend to lay eggs?
  3. When all the data were considered, what was the consensus of opinion about whether monarchs are harmed by Bt corn?
  4. What questions were left unanswered by the research?

Click on the link below to access the EBSCOhost databases. Follow the directions below to access the article.
Mouse icon  EBSCOhost

  • Select EBSCOhost Research Databases.
  • Check the box for Select all, and click on the Continue button.
  • Type “Bt Corn Risk to Monarchs is 'Negligible'” in the search box, and click on the Search button.
  • Select the article “Bt Corn Risk to Monarchs is ‘Negligible’” by Susan Milius.
Click on the Show Answer button to check your answers.
Show AnswerAnswer:
  1. toxicity tests in the lab and in the field
  2. Butterflies were nearly twice as likely to lay eggs on a milkweed plant in a cornfield as in some other environment.
  3. The consensus was that Bt corn has negligible effect on monarchs.
  4. whether or not a significant number of the monarch population was affected by Bt toxin; long-term effects of Bt toxin on soil organisms