Genetically Modified Crops : Solution to Global Food Security

The introduction of the first transgenic plant 30 years ago heralded the start of a second green revolution, providing food to the starving, profits to farmers and environmental benefits to boot. Many GM crops fulfilled the promise. But their success has been mired in controversy with many questioning their safety, their profitability and their green credentials.They are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering techniques. In most cases the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, or environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, or resistance to chemical treatments  or improving the nutrient profile of the crop. Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels, and other industrially useful goods, as well as for bioremediation. Farmers have widely adopted GM technology. Between 1996 and 2013, the total surface area of land cultivated with GM crops increased by a factor of 100, from 17,000 square kilometers ( to 1,750,000 square kms. 10% of the world's croplands were planted with GM crops in 2010. In the US, by 2014, 94% of the planted area of soybeans, 96% of cotton and 93% of corn were genetically modified varieties.In recent years  Commercialization of GM crops expanded rapidly in developing countries. In 2013 approximately 18 million farmers grew 54% of worldwide GM crops in developing countries.

 

A major application of agricultural biotechnology is genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in which a gene that contains certain traits is inserted into crops to improve performance. Crop improvements in the past always occurred via changes in genetics but with traditional plant breeding, we did not actually know the changes in the genomic level because the only thing we observed were the outcomes. Genetic engineering allows for more precision, in which only a few genes are altered within a plant that has thousands or even tens of thousands of genes.

  • Commercialization of GM crops
  • Yield effects of genetically modified crops in developing countries
  • Risk assessment in GM crops
  • GM crops in developing countries
  • GM crops influencing the economic status of farmers
  • Reduction in food insecurity from GM crops
  • Global status of globalized GM crops

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