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February 11, 2004

USA: GM insects will help to control weeds and pests – report

While genetic modification (GM) seems to have scored a public relations disaster regarding food crops, an attempt to garner some praise is being made in the emerging science of GM insects.

While genetic modification (GM) seems to have scored a public relations disaster regarding food crops, an attempt to garner some praise is being made in the emerging science of GM insects.

Scientists hope to modify insects to control noxious weeds and insect pests, reducing the use of pesticides on agricultural, pasture and horticultural lands. Another focus is improving the resistance of honeybees to diseases and parasites.

Meanwhile, pest-eating insects such as beetles could have their life spans increased. While attracting some support, there are concerns that the US government has no clear regulatory framework, says a Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology report. It estimates it may be a decade before any large-scale releases.

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