Food Not Fit for a Monarch
Genetically modified corn can kill monarch butterflies, according to a study by Cornell University scientists published in today’s issue of the journal Nature. The corn contains a toxin that kills pests that feed on the crop, but researchers determined that the toxin also poses a risk to the butterflies. They found that toxic pollen from the corn landing on nearby milkweed plants can kill monarch larvae that feed on milkweed. The Union of Concerned Scientists is calling on the EPA to clamp down on planting of the corn, which is grown on some 10 to 20 million acres in the U.S., much of it in the heart of the monarchs’ breeding range. Spokespeople for the three biggest biotechnology firms — Monsanto, Novartis, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International — said they are reviewing the study.