Crop Biotech Update

Review on the Agronomic and Environmental Impacts of GM Crops

January 23, 2013

UK researchers A.M. Mannion from the University of Reading and Stephen Morse of the University of Surrey released a paper review reflecting the agronomic and environmental impact of planting GM crops for 15 years. They analyzed published literature on GM crops and found that the commercialization of GM crops have brought positive impacts in both the developing and developed countries. The claimed negative impacts of the technology have not been observed in large scales.

Agronomically, the planting of GM crops has led to increases in yield due to improved pest and weed control. In addition, planting of insect resistant crops has benefited the planting of conventional crops due to its "halo" effect in the fields. Environmentally, decreased insecticide use saved non-target and beneficial organisms in soil and in water. The decrease in pesticide use also decreased its health hazards to farmers. Planting of GM crops also led to reduced carbon footprint as energy inputs are decreased.

The continuous benefits of the technology still depends on the speed of insect resistance development and thus scientists and farmers must employ new GM approaches and management strategies to continue combating pests.

Read the abstract at http://ppg.sagepub.com/content/36/6/747.