|Does transgenic maize cause |
the death of the Monarch butterfly?
The European Union blocks importation
|by Roberto Meucci|
Maize is one of the plants which for thousands of years has contributed to feed the human race, and which still provides nourishment for hundreds of millions of the inhabitants of our planet. In many countries it still constitutes the basic foodstuff, without which entire populations would die of hunger.
A number of scientists have succeeded in modifying the DNA of various plants, producing transgenic species which are resistant to the piraide, the major parasite which is the cause of the destruction of 20% of the harvest. In fact, once this parasite penetrates the leaves, it is resistant to known anti-parasitics. What the researchers did was to extract a gene from the bacillus thuringiensis and insert it into the maize chromosome. Since this gene produces a protein which is toxic for the plant parasite, the cultivators no longer need to resort to pesticides.