Monsanto awards grant to study Bt corn's effects on insects

The Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program has awarded Michigan State University professor Felicia Wu a grant to develop a model of factors impacting the effectiveness of Bt corn, the National Corn Growers Association said on Thursday.

The 10-member advisory committee includes academics and growers who provide merit-based awards for understanding insect management and addressing concerns in agriculture.

The proposal, titled “An Agent-Based Model of Insect Adaptation to Transgenic Insecticidal Corn,” is also supported by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

Wu will research how insects adapt to the Bt proteins in corn. Factors including farmer behaviors, refuge strategy, insecticide usage, combination of traits used and crop rotation will be studied to determine their effect on Bt corn.

The NCGA considers this grant and the research important to the group's work within the  industry and with the government on resistance management.

Richard Vierling, the NCGA's director of research and new uses, sits on the program’s grant-review committee. Vierling's focus is to ensure the grants awarded by the Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program will meet farmers’ needs throughout the country. The program was originally called the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Program, but changed its name when the focus shifted to include the effect of insects on crop effectiveness and the U.S. agricultural economy.

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