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Pipeline GMOs: What the Future Holds

Perception: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) have solved the weed and pesticide problem for farmers and eliminated the need for new herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides in food production.

Reality: GMOs have created new superweeds and  superbugs that are resistant to currently used herbicides, and fungicides. In response to these new superweeds and  pests, new GMOs are constantly being developed. Many of the new GMOs are "stacked" with toxic poisons.

Key Points:

*"Because pests may develop resistance to crop protection chemicals there is a continual need for new products to be developed."

*"It is estimated that it costs about œ150-200 million to discover a new product, test it thoroughly for its action and its safety for the environment, and develop manufacturing techniques for its synthesis. It takes an average of 10 to 15 years to do this so it is small wonder that, worldwide, only about 12 chemicals are introduced each year. However, these chemicals are key to the efficient production of food (Figure 2)."

*"There are many hundreds of pesticides in use and being developed."

*"However some crops, for example soya, are being developed which are also resistant to auxins such as 2,4-D and so farmers will be able to use a mixture of glyphosate and an auxin. Glufosinate is another non-selective herbicide."

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Sources:

Crop Protection Chemicals. (2013, March 18). Retrieved from http://www.essentialchemicalindustry.org/materials-and-applications/crop-protection-chemicals.html

Key Points:

*"In 2016, 185 million hectares of land were planted with biotech crops, and the vast majority consisted of soybean, maize, cotton and canola. Almost all of this area, over 99 percent, contained crops resistant to herbicides, insects, or both."

*"In the last few years we have seen a rapid expansion in crops with “stacked traits” that have genes for resistance to both herbicides and insects, and in the near future this is the direction that GM agriculture will no doubt be heading in."

*"Scientists have entered into a technological battle with pests, developing new genes to create crops that insects aren’t resistant to."

*"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, is taking a gamble funding projects that aim to create cereal crops that can fix their own nitrogen."

*"Whereas other GM crops might have a single gene inserted, for nitrogen fixation you need entire biological pathways."

*"Many scientists are turning towards genome-editing tools, the most famous of which is CRISPR-Cas9. These powerful tools can be used to introduce new genes into a plant or animal, or to make more subtle changes to individual DNA base pairs."

*"Countries such as the United States and Argentina have deemed that genome-edited plants won’t be regulated in the same way as GMOs, which opens up the possibility of bringing new crops to market far more quickly and cheaply."

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Source:

Nesbit, Rebecca. (2017, September 5). The Future of GMO Food. Retrieved from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-future-of-gmo-food/#googDisableSync