Michigan State University's Dr. Felicia Wu will study the long-term effectiveness of Bt corn against insect pests with the help of a research grant from the Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program.
The proposal was entitled "An Agent Based Model of Insect Adaptation to Transgenic Insecticidal Corn."
The National Corn Growers Association, which supports the Monsanto program, said Wu's project will develop a model to consider the factors that affect insect adaptation to the Bt proteins in corn: farmer behaviors, refuge strategy, insecticide usage, combination of traits used, crop rotation and others.
Understanding how insect resistance develops helps shape best management practices and mitigation actions to avoid limiting Bt corn's effectiveness, NCGA says.
The Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program, a 10-member advisory committee consisting of academics and growers, provides merit-based awards for outstanding research addresses challenges in agriculture. The program originally started in 2013 as the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Program but expanded its focus to include insects that are economically damaging to any U.S. row crop.
NCGA Director of Research and New Uses Dr. Richard Vierling serves on the grant review committee to ensure the projects will develop tools that meet farmers' needs. The research addresses the following areas: development of predictive models of resistance; farmer education and training; and sustainable pest management.
Monsanto also has selected other projects for funding in 2015, including:
• A study to review whitefly resistance to several key selective insecticides in a multi-crop system
• A study to better understand the biology and ecology of target pests of Bt toxin
• A study to understand durability of aphid resistance by understanding the mechanisms of virulence to Rag-genes in soybeans
• A study to understand Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) ability to mitigate WCR damage in corn
• A study to discover the sources and identities of the double stranded RNA naturally sampled by western corn rootworm to limit resistance
Read more about all the projects on the Monsanto 2015 Insect Knowledge Research Awardees web page.