GMO Need to Know: What is the BT in BT corn?

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So what is Bacillus Thuringiensis?

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a unique bacterium in that it shares a common place with a number of chemical compounds which are used commercially to control insects important to agriculture and public health. Although other bacteria, including B. popilliae and B. sphaericus, are used as microbial insecticides, their spectrum of insecticidal activity is quite limited compared to Bt. Importantly, Bt is safe for humans and is the most widely used environmentally compatible biopesticide worldwide. Furthermore, insecticidal Bt genes have been incorporated into several major crops, rendering them insect resistant, and thus providing a model for genetic engineering in agriculture. (SOURCE: Bacillus thuringiensis: A genomics and proteomics perspective)

These are some examples…

BT corn is modified to one or more proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis. Approved Bt genes include single and stacked (event names bracketed) configurations of: Cry1A.105 (MON89034), CryIAb (MON810), CryIF (1507), Cry2Ab (MON89034), Cry3Bb1 (MON863 and MON88017), Cry34Ab1 (59122), Cry35Ab1 (59122), mCry3A (MIR604), and Vip3A (MIR162), in both corn and cotton. Corn genetically modified to produce VIP was first approved in the US in 2010.

And what does it look like?

Bacillus Thuringiensis.
Crystals of Bt-toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis serovar morrisoni strain T08025. (CREDIT: Jim Buckman)

Give me more.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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