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I was wondering if someone was able to provide some clarification on why A is the correct answer as opposed to E? I understand why A is a technically correct answer (fields with Cyclamen and Typhlodromus mites don’t reach significantly damaging levels as stated at the end of the first paragraph), but I’m failing to see how E is a wrong answer as I feel that it has strong support from the passage as well. The final paragraph talks about how the results of the greenhouse experiment are reflected in real-world observations regarding damage to field planting of strawberries (lines 52-56).

If we break down and analyze answer E, describing the causing of cyclamen mites to become a serious crop pest as having been done “unintentionally” is valid as no reasonable strawberry grower would knowingly implement a pest control method that actually ends up exacerbating an issue that directly damages their crops. Furthermore, the notion that the indiscriminate use of parathion in strawberry crops caused cyclamen mites to “become a serious crop pest” appears to be supported by information in both the first and third paragraphs, where the effect of allowing cyclamen mite population to reach a critical level is explicitly referred to as “significantly damaging” at the end of both paragraphs.

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 Dana D
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Hey Alex,

Remember this question is a MSS, so answer choice (A) is not only technically right, but it must also be true based on the information given in the passage. That is the highest level of surety you can get, so if you narrowed it down to answers (A) and (E), you should feel comfortable picking (A).

That being said, answer choice (E) is a weaker option because the passage doesn't actually tell us what strawberry growers know. Sure, we can make the assumption that they would not continually rely on parathion if they knew it was actually exacerbating their pest problems, but the question asks what information in the passage most strongly supports, and strawberry growers knowledge is not mentioned. Or, perhaps strawberry growers do know that parathion is not helping mitigate their cyclamen mite issue, but there is another reason they continually use parathion - we just don't know from the passage alone, therefore we cannot say answer choice (E) is the MSS answer.

Hope that helps!

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