Study Finds GMO Fields Affect Wildlife

British study shows that the way pesticides were applied caused the biggest difference, not biotech seeds. Compiled by staff

Published on: Mar 21, 2005

British scientists say that birds and bees are more likely to thrive in fields of natural rapeseed compared to genetically modified (GMO) seed. However it was herbicide management, not because of biotech crops, according to Reuters.

The study was the world's biggest study to date on the impact of GMO crops on wildlife. Despite green groups attempt to blame GMOs for the harm to wildlife, scientists stressed the differences were a result of the way pesticides were applied.

Reuters quotes researcher David Bohan as saying, "The study demonstrates the important of the effects of herbicide management on wildlife in fields and adjacent areas."

When conventional winter-sown rapeseed was compared with GMO herbicide-resistant plants, the study found the same number of weeds overall, having more grass weeds but fewer broad-leaved weeds. Flowers of broad-leaved weeds provide food for insects, while their seeds are an important food source for other wildlife.

Fields planted with the biotech version had fewer butterflies and bees, although researchers again say this is because of the way the fields were sprayed. The biotech community says the results further show that biotech crops have little impact on butterfly populations.