Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development
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Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.
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Chapter 38: Cotton

Jeffrey Vitale, Gaspard Vognan and Marc Ouattarra


Insects have traditionally been a major threat to sustaining cotton production over the long term on nearly all continents (Benedict and Altman, 2001). Continuous cotton production accelerates the build-up of insect populations, which can cause substantial production losses on cotton fields (Clay, 2004). Lepidoptera (for example American bollworm) is one of the most pernicious pests found in all of the major cotton-producing areas, including the Americas, Africa and Asia (Benedict and Altman, 2001). Chemical pesticides were developed in the twentieth century to control insect populations but did not provide a sustainable approach to pest control. Over time, pest populations developed resistance to many of the chemical agents, and the toxicity of pesticides created human health and environmental concerns (Goodell et al., 2001). Research and development of genetically modified (GM) cotton began in the 1980s (Perlak et al., 1990). Transgenic engineering techniques were developed to insert genes that encode and promote the production of Cry proteins (for example Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab), originating from the common soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) (Perlak et al., 1990). The Cry proteins are toxic to certain caterpillar pests common to cotton and are highly effective in killing certain lepidopteran larvae, often called caterpillars (Greenplate et al., 2003). Once ingested, the Cry proteins bind to specific molecular receptors on the lining of the caterpillar's gut, create holes in the gut, and quickly cause death (Hofte and Whiteley, 1989).

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