Use of Taxonomic and Trait-Based Approaches to Evaluate the Effects of Transgenic Cry1Ac Corn on the Community Characteristics of Soil Collembola

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Abstract or Summary

Nontarget soil fauna in fields planted with transgenic Bt crops may be influenced by the Bt protein following crop establishment. Here, we investigated the effects of transgenic Cry1Accorn Bt-799 on soil Collembola using both taxonomic and trait-based approaches in an experimental field in northeast China from 2014 to 2015. The relationship between the collembolan community and environmental variables (including corn type) was investigated using redundancy analysis (RDA). In May 2015, we found that collembolan species richness, Shannon–Wiener’s index, and all trait values examined in transgenic Cry1Ac corn (Event Bt-799, Bt corn) were lower than in its near isoline (Zheng 58, non-Bt corn). However, this significant influence did not persist in the subsequent corn growth period. For all other sampling periods over 2-yr study, all indices based on taxonomic (abundance, species richness, and Shannon–Wiener’s index) and trait-based (number of ocelli, body size, pigmentation, furcula development, and antennae length) approaches in Bt corn were not significantly different from non-Bt corn. The results showed no significant difference between the two corn types in the repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Moreover, redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that corn type only explained 1% of the variation in the collembolan community. These results suggested that Bt corn did not affect collembolan community characteristics in the short term

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