Genetically engineered crops: Importance of diversified integrated pest management for agricultural sustainability

Jennifer A. Anderson, Peter C. Ellsworth, Josias C. Faria, Graham P. Head, Micheal D.K. Owen, Clinton D. Pilcher, Anthony M. Shelton, Michael Meissle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


As the global population continues to expand, utilizing an integrated approach to pest management will be critically important for food security, agricultural sustainability, and environmental protection. Genetically engineered (GE) crops that provide protection against insects and diseases, or tolerance to herbicides are important tools that complement a diversified integrated pest management (IPM) plan. However, despite the advantages that GE crops may bring for simplifying the approach and improving efficiency of pest and weed control, there are also challenges for successful implementation and sustainable use. This paper considers how several GE traits, including those that confer protection against insects by expression of proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), traits that confer tolerance to herbicides, and RNAi-based traits that confer resistance to viral pathogens, can be key elements of a diversified IPM plan for several different crops in both developed and developing countries. Additionally, we highlight the importance of community engagement and extension, strong partnership between industry, regulators and farmers, and education and training programs, for achieving long-term success. By leveraging the experiences gained with these GE crops, understanding the limitations of the technology, and considering the successes and failures of GE traits in IPM plans for different crops and regions, we can improve the sustainability and versatility of IPM plans that incorporate these and future technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - 2019


  • Adoption of technology
  • Extension
  • Genetically engineered (GE) crops
  • Genetically modified (GM)
  • Insect resistance management (IRM)
  • Integrated pest management (IPM)
  • Integrated weed management (IWM)
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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