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Also known at Bt, this bacteria is widely used as an agricultural pesticide. It's used on forests, tobacco, on nursery plants, around homes, in greenhouses, and on food crops including nuts, fruits, vegetables, tubers, berries, and grains. It mainly targets moth larvae, but it also works well on members of diptera, so it's also used for mosquito control. Apparently, the bacteria secretes a protein that turns insects' insides into a black goo similar to the alien viruses you might see on the X-files. One reason for its popularity: it has no known toxic or pathogenic effect in humans or other mammals.

If it has a bad reputation at all, it is for two reasons: (1) its impact on nontarget species, especially endangered butterflies; and (2) its genes, when spliced into the DNA of crops, like corn, tend to get a lot of publicity.

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