For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the plant produces a piece of RNA that shuts down a specific gene inside the larvae, killing them.
On paper at least, such RNA interference (RNAi) is the perfect pesticide: it kills the target species while leaving others untouched. Read more