Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that the alarming decline in the population of monarch butterflies, is an unintended consequence of the widespread use of genetically modified seeds, as these butterflies lay eggs developing into caterpillars on milkweeds. GM corns and soybeans are altered to resist Roundup herbicides allowing farmers to spray their fields indiscrimately, eradicating milkweeds and diminishing the butterflies' breeding grounds, depleting their numbers and upsetting migration. Between 1999 - 2010, a period of boom in the use of GM crops, they have been an 81% decline in the number of monarch eggs and 58% of milkweeds have disappeared throughout the Corn Belt. According to Chip Taylor, an ecologist at the University of Kansas and the director of research at Monarch Watch, "the scale of the loss of habitat is so big that unless we compensate for it in some way, the population will decline to a point where it will disappear."
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