No Adverse Effects of Stacked Bacillus thuringiensis Maize on the Midge Chironomus riparius

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Abstract or Summary

Material from genetically engineered maize producing insecticidal Cry proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) may enter aquatic ecosystems and expose nontarget organisms. We investigated the effects on life table parameters of the midge Chironomus riparius (Diptera: Chironomidae) of SmartStax maize leaves, which contain six different Cry proteins targeting Lepidoptera and Coleoptera pests, in two plant backgrounds. For midge development and emergence, 95% confidence intervals for the means of six conventional maize lines (Rheintaler, Tasty Sweet, ES-Eurojet, Planoxx, EXP 258, and EXP 262), were used to capture the natural range of variation. For reproduction, lowest and highest means were used. The natural range of variation allows one to judge whether observed effects between Bt maize and the closest non-Bt comparator are likely to be of biological relevance. No adverse effects on C. riparius were observed with any Bt maize line compared with the respective non-Bt counterpart. Development time was shorter when females were fed Bt maize than when they were fed non-Bt maize, but this effect was not considered adverse. Development time, emergence ratio, sex ratio, and larvae/egg rope measured for Bt maize were within the natural range of variation. Fecundity for the Bt lines was equal to or higher than that for the conventional lines. Future risk assessment studies may consider plant background effects and the natural range of variation to judge the relevance of observed differences between particular genetically engineered and non-genetically engineered plants.


No Adverse Effects of Stacked Bacillus thuringiensis Maize on the Midge Chironomus riparius (held on an external server, and so may require additional authentication details)

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