Can Genetic Modification Protect Corn?

The European corn borer (ECB) is a major pest of corn in the United States. It is a small, black and white moth that lays its eggs on the leaves of corn plants. The larvae hatch and tunnel into the stalks, ears, and leaves of the plant, causing significant damage.

European Corn Borer

Bt corn is a type of genetically modified organism (GMO) that has been enhanced through biotechnology to protect against insect pests. The protection comes from a naturally occurring microorganism called Bacillus thuringiensis or “Bt.” The protein produced by Bt corn selectively targets caterpillar larvae, like the kind that infect corn.

Graph of Grain Yields

Source: Agronomy Wis Edu

1. What is the independent variable in the experiment?

2. What is the dependent variable in the experiment?

3. What would be used as the control the experiment?

4. What CLAIM can you make from the data?

5. Summarize the EVIDENCE from the chart that supports your claim.

6. Write a REASONING statement that connects the claim and evidence. Include the biology background information (see opening paragraph) for WHY the graph shows those results.

Other Resources on Environmental Pests

Pest Control and the European Corn Borer

Invasion of the Jumping Worm

Are Invading Bullfrogs Harmful?