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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Butterflies and Bt corn
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Butterflies and Bt corn. Allowing Science to Guide Decisions.
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EPA acts

EPA issued a monarch butterfly data call-in notice in December 1999 to the biotech industry. A data call-in is a list of questions for which EPA seeks research results before considering a regulatory response. In this case, the questions the EPA asked for the data call-in were similar to the research priorities established by scientists at previous meetings. EPA set a deadline for answering these questions.

Public and private researchers summarized all of the available data from studies already under way that covered monarch butterfly distribution and behavior; corn pollen dispersal; milkweed distribution; and toxicity testing of Bt proteins and Bt corn pollen on the monarch.

EPA followed the data call-in by forming a Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), a group of experts, to examine the scientific issues surrounding the pending amendments to the re-registration of Bt corn. The panel was asked to review the newly available monarch data from 1999 and 2000.

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Monarch butterfly on flowering plant

“These studies represent a concerted effort to study the impact of GM crops on the monarch butterfly, based on sound science and proven methods of risk assessment, and exemplify an approach that is a laudable model for future endeavors.”

— Irwin & Krishna, 2002


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Last Modified: 11/28/2015
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