And given that it is Fashion Month, it’s a good time to learn about the benefits of one of the lesser talked about GMOs: cotton. Cotton provides more than just apparel and home furnishings, however. Every part of the cotton plant can be used. The long cotton fibers are used to make cloth, the short fibers provide cellulose for making plastics and can be used in the paper industry and processed into batting for padding mattresses, furniture, and car cushions. You can make oil, margarine, soap, cosmetics, rubbers, and more out of the seeds of the cotton plant. The leaves and stalks of the cotton plant are plowed into the ground to make the soil better. Cottonseed and cottonseed meal are used in feed for livestock, dairy cattle, and poultry.
GMO cotton is an insect-resistant transgenic crop designed to combat pests like the bollworm. This particular GMO was created by genetically altering the cotton genome to express a microbial protein from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, better known as Bt. Bt is a natural, safe bacterium that attacks certain insect pests. It is even approved as a pesticide in organic farming by the USDA Organic program.
By inserting Bt into the genetic makeup of cotton, it allows the plant to fight off pests while allowing farmers to use less pesticide on their fields.
Suzie Wilde, a cotton farmer in West Central Texas, explains the benefits of the genetic traits of the GM cotton she grows (herbicide and insect resistance).
According to Suzie:
“These two genetic traits [of GM cotton] have cleaned both the air I breathe and the water I drink and are preserving the soil that grows my beloved cotton. Cleaner air since the tractor can stay parked more often. Cleaner water since there is less herbicide on the surface to run off. Preserving the soil since tillage has been greatly reduced. A cleaner product since the insecticide is reduced or even eliminated in some years.”
GMO Answers and CropLife International worked together to create a video that shows just how important GMO cotton is to the fashion and fiber industry. About 93% of cotton grown in the United States is GMO cotton, which makes it a more sustainable and eco-friendly choice for you and your family.
Check out our new video, and please share on social media.