Tit for tat

 
Published: Monday 15 January 1996

Australian researchers have devised a novel method to deal with caterpillars that create havoc in their cotton fields. They have developed a variety of cotton that kills the caterpillars (New Scientist, Vo1148, No 1998).

Genetic engineers at the CSIRO, Australia's national research organisation, have introduced a gene for a natural insecticide, produced by the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, into Australian cotton varieties. The gene produces a protein that kills the cotton bollworm and the native budworm. It is felt that the new variety could effectively reduce the enormous expenses incurred by aerial spraying of pesticides every year.

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