Transgenic cotton, aka a genetically engineered cotton has its own insecticide within the plant with the goal of eliminating the need for additional measures to control the pink bollworm, saltmarsh caterpillars, and beet armyworms. The hope for the cotton variety was to reduce the risks and costs, as well as increase yields to farmers who grow cotton. Many farmers are adopting such varieties and by 1998 over 45% of U.S. cotton was grown with transgenic mechanisms.
Bt cotton (insect resistant cotton) is one type of transgenic cotton was developed by Monsanto ten years ago. After its release Monsanto authorized seed companies to develop cotton varieties with the patented gene. The first Bt cotton varieties were available commercially in 1996 and was hoped to significantly reduce risk and costs to farmers.
However, a recent four year study by researchers at the University of Georgia and the US Department of Agriculture in the Agronomy Journal found that transgenic cotton offers no advantage to farmers. Researchers suggested that farmers should choose their variety (transgenic or non-transgenic) based on their location however many seed companies are reducing the variety of non-transgenic varieties making it difficult for farmers to use non-transgenic types. For more information on the study check out the Institute of Science in Society, find facts on cotton at Cotton.org or read about transgenic cotton at University of Arizona College of Agriculture. Via: Envirovore