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General Information

Document type
  • Peer-reviewed journal article
Study Type
  • meta-analysis
  • non-target assessment
GE organism
  • maize
GE trait
  • insect resistance
  • USA, Italy, Denmark


Safety for environment
  • mixed

Transgenic insecticidal crops and natural enemies: a detailed review of laboratory studies Review Article

Lövei, GL; Andow, DA; Arpaia, S
Environmental Entomology. 2009 April. 38(2):293-306

Link to full text (journal may charge for access)

PMID: 19389277 DOI: 10.1603/022.038.0201 ISSN: 0046-225X


This review uses a data-driven, quantitative method to summarize the published, peer-reviewed literature about the impact of genetically modified (GM) plants on arthropod natural enemies in laboratory experiments. The method is similar to meta-analysis, and, in contrast to a simple author-vote counting method used by several earlier reviews, gives an objective, data-driven summary of existing knowledge about these effects. Significantly more non-neutral responses were observed than expected at random in 75% of the comparisons of natural enemy groups and response classes. These observations indicate that Cry toxins and proteinase inhibitors often have non-neutral effects on natural enemies. This synthesis identifies a continued bias toward studies on a few predator species, especially the green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea Stephens, which may be more sensitive to GM insecticidal plants (16.8% of the quantified parameter responses were significantly negative) than predators in general (10.9% significantly negative effects without C. carnea). Parasitoids were more susceptible than predators to the effects of both Cry toxins and proteinase inhibitors, with fewer positive effects (18.0%, significant and nonsignificant positive effects combined) than negative ones (66.1%, significant and nonsignificant negative effects combined). GM plants can have a positive effect on natural enemies (4.8% of responses were significantly positive), although significant negative (21.2%) effects were more common. Although there are data on 48 natural enemy species, the database is still far from adequate to predict the effect of a Bt toxin or proteinase inhibitor on natural enemies.


transgenic plants, biosafety, natural enemies, laboratory experiments, review


Funding source
  • Not reported
Funding country
  • Not reported
Funding type
  • Not reported

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Cite this study


Lövei, GL, DA Andow, S Arpaia. "Transgenic insecticidal crops and natural enemies: a detailed review of laboratory studies." Environmental Entomology 38.2 (2009): 293-306. Web. 28 May. 2024.


Lövei, GL., Andow, DA., & Arpaia, S. (2009). Transgenic insecticidal crops and natural enemies: a detailed review of laboratory studies. Environmental Entomology, 38(2), 293-306. doi:10.1603/022.038.0201

Please verify citations before use, citations are automatically generated based on information stored within the GENERA database and therefore may or may not be correct.