Transgenic insecticidal crops and natural enemies: A detailed review of laboratory studies

Gabor L. Lövei, David A. Andow, Salvatore Arpaia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations

Abstract

This review uses a data-driven, quantitative method to summarize the published, peer-reviewed literature about the impact of genetically modified (GM) plants on arthropod natural enemies in laboratory experiments. The method is similar to meta-analysis, and, in contrast to a simple author-vote counting method used by several earlier reviews, gives an objective, data-driven summary of existing knowledge about these effects. Significantly more non-neutral responses were observed than expected at random in 75% of the comparisons of natural enemy groups and response classes. These observations indicate that Cry toxins and proteinase inhibitors often have non-neutral effects on natural enemies. This synthesis identifies a continued bias toward studies on a few predator species, especially the green lacewing, Chrysoperla cornea Stephens, which may be more sensitive to GM insecticidal plants (16.8% of the quantified parameter responses were significantly negative) than predators in general (10.9% significantly negative effects without C. cornea). Parasitoids were more susceptible than predators to the effects of both Cry toxins and proteinase inhibitors, with fewer positive effects (18.0%, significant and nonsignificant positive effects combined) than negative ones (66.1%, significant and nonsignificant negative effects combined). GM plants can have a positive effect on natural enemies (4.8% of responses were significantly positive), although significant negative (21.2%) effects were more common. Although there are data on 48 natural enemy species, the database is still far from adequate to predict the effect of a Bt toxin or proteinase inhibitor on natural enemies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-306
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental entomology
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009

Keywords

  • Biosafety
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Natural enemies
  • Review
  • Transgenic plants

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