Researchers in a New York cabbage patch are planning the first release on American soil of insects genetically engineered to die before they can reproduce. It’s a pesticide-free attempt to control invasive diamondback moths, a voracious consumer of cabbage, broccoli and other cruciferous crops that’s notorious for its ability to shrug off every new poison in the agricultural arsenal.
“It costs $4-5 billion a year globally to manage this pest,” said Anthony Shelton, a Cornell University researcher who’s been studying the species for 40 years. “If you can manage it without using insecticides that can affect pollinators and other non-target organisms, that’s a real advantage.” Shelton is doing field tests of gene-altered moths at Cornell’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, 160 miles west of Albany. READ MORE