why are gmos used in agriculture



What is good about GMOs?

  • Disease resistance. Through genetic modification, the Hawaiian papaya industry was able to recover from the devastating papaya ringspot virus that had crippled the industry.
  • Insect resistance. …
  • Drought resistance. …
  • Herbicide tolerance. …
  • Enhanced nutritional profile. …

Most of the GMO crops

GMO crops
Many GMO crops are used to make ingredients that Americans eat such as cornstarch, corn syrup, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, or granulated sugar. A few fresh fruits and vegetables are available in GMO varieties, including potatoes, summer squash, apples, and papayas.
https://www.fda.gov › gmo-crops-animal-food-and-beyond

grown today were developed to help farmers prevent crop and food loss and control weeds. The three most common traits found in GMO crops are: Resistance to certain damaging insects. Tolerance of certain herbicides used to control weeds.Feb 17, 2022


What is the reason farmers cultivate GMO crops?

 · Most of the GMO crops grown today were developed to help farmers prevent crop and food loss and control weeds. The three most common traits found in GMO crops are: Resistance to certain damaging…

Are GMOs good for farmers?

GMO technologies offer more rapid crop improvement, novel genetic strategies for crop improvement, and the ability to use genes from all sources regardless of origin from within the tree of life. For the remainder of this review I will be concentrating the narrative on GM crops rather than the more universal use of the term GMO.

Why should GMOs be used?

To meet the challenge of improving yields requires a constant commitment to generating a steady supply of improved cultivars and lines for all major crops. Conventional breeding cannot keep …

Why do we need GMO crops in agriculture?

 · GMO supporters point to evidence that GMOs must be considered essential for promoting sustainable agriculture, as they may be able to reduce agriculture’s environmental …


Why are GMOs important to agriculture?

GMOs are one of modern agriculture’s many innovations and allow farmers to grow more food with fewer resources. Genetically modified traits like insect-resistance and drought-resistance help to maximize yields and enable farmers to grow more food using less land and with fewer inputs like chemicals and fuel.

How do GMOs benefit farmers?

GMOs help farmers reduce agriculture’s impact on the environment and protect the land for future generations. Over the last 20 years, GMOs have helped to reduce pesticide applications by 8.1 percent and increase crop yields by 22 percent.

What are the benefits of GM crops?

Genetically engineered foodsMore nutritious food.Tastier food.Disease- and drought-resistant plants that require fewer environmental resources (such as water and fertilizer)Less use of pesticides.Increased supply of food with reduced cost and longer shelf life.Faster growing plants and animals.More items…•

Why should we use GMOs?

Before GMOs, many common medicines had to be extracted from blood donors, animal parts, or even cadavers. These medicines had a number of problems including the risk of transmission of diseases, inconsistent quality and unreliable supply. GMO medicines are more consistent and don’t carry the same contamination risk.


Why do farmers use less pesticides?

Farmers can use less spray pesticides when they plant GMO crops. This saves farmers money and reduces the amount of pesticides that end up on crops. When farmers use herbicide-tolerant crops, they reduce the need to till the soil to control weeds.

Why is no till planting important?

No-till planting helps to improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, lower fuel and labor use, and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Growing virus-resistant crops can also help farmers produce a sustainable, safe food supply while increasing the stability of their livelihoods. Studies.

Why are people against GMOs?

The reasons for this opposition are complex and multifaceted, but from what is articulated and communicated by those who oppose GMOs, they are based on the perception that such crops pose an unacceptable risk to both human health and the environment. Such sentiment exists even though there have been no adverse health or environmental affects from the almost four billion acres of GMO crops grown since their introduction in 1996. Several National Research Council committees and European Commissions (as well as joint commissions) have concluded that with the extensive scientific inquiry into the safety issues surrounding the adoption of GM crops, genetic engineering using biotechnology is no different from conventional breeding in terms of unintended consequences to the environment or animal and human health. 33 The European Commission funded more 50 research programs from 2001–2010 to address concerns regarding the use of GM crops to reach this same determination. 34 Nicolia et al. 24 constructed a database of 1,783 scientific original research papers, reviews, relevant opinion articles, and reports published between 2002 and October of 2010 on GMO safety issues, and reviewed the contents to generate a comprehensive overview of the accumulated knowledge. The overall conclusion of this mammoth undertaking was that “the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of GM crops.

What is the challenge of GM crops?

To meet the challenge of improving yields requires a constant commitment to generating a steady supply of improved cultivars and lines for all major crops. Conventional breeding cannot keep pace with what is required; to meet the targets biotechnology and the production of genetically-modified (GM) crops is filling the gap. However, there are still concerns as to the safety of GM crops for human consumption and the environment. In this review I explore the need for GM crops, the way they are produced, and their impact and safety.

How long has GM been around?

It has been thirty years since the first genetically engineered plants were generated, and it has been eighteen years since the first introduction of a transgenic crop into U.S. agriculture. Since their emergence the acreage planted with GM crops has steadily increased such that in 2013, 433 million acres (175.2 hectares) of land were dedicated to their production, 56% of which were grown in developing countries. 28 As of 2013, a total more than four billion acres of GMA crops have been grown in 27 countries world-wide, primarily in corn, soybean and cotton, although new crops are being introduced at an increasing rate. The economic benefits of the deployment of these crops have been substantial. Mannion and Morse 29 report that on a global level, from 1996 to 2006, GM crops increased farm income by $40.7 billion, occurring in both developed (47%) and developing agricultures (53%). In the following six years (as of 2012) the global increase in farm income from GM crops had almost tripled that of the previous 10 years to reach $116 billion. 28, 30 Both studies estimate that 42% of this economic gain is derived from the increased yield associated with lower weed and pest damage as well as superior genetics. The remaining 58% accrued from a decrease in production costs (decreased herbicide and pesticide costs and a reduction in tillage). These figures indicate that the underlying agronomic benefits derived from GM crops are equally impressive: with a global yield increase of 377 million tons from 1996 to 2012. In 2012 the increase in yield attributed to GM crops for the U.S. was 47 million tons. 28, 30 Brooks and Barfoot 30 estimate that to attain an equal yield increase to that delivered by GM crops between 1996 and 2012, an additional 303 million acres (123 million hectares) of conventional crops would have been required. As James 28 postulates that to attain this extra land industrial nations would have to use marginal lands that are generally characterized by poor soils (requiring substantial inputs such as fertilizer and irrigation) and developing countries would primarily target tropical forests. Certainly such an added conversion of land to agricultural purposes would have serious ecological and environmental impacts regardless of what part of the world it is acquired.

How does GM affect biodiversity?

The adoption of GM herbicide tolerant crops does alter the biodiversity of plant populations (weeds) in agricultural ecosystems and some of the insects and other organisms that rely upon them but this is related to weed management and herbicide use not the GM crop. Alterations in biodiversity also occur in conventional agriculture where weed management strategies are employed. 48 Nevertheless there is great deal of evidence that the adoption of GM herbicide tolerant crops has had a beneficial impact on the environment. The conversion of natural habitat and ecosystems to urban development and agriculture is clearly the most detrimental aspect of human activity as it relates to environmental impact and loss of biodiversity. As yields increase with the adoption of GM crops, as discussed previously, the need to dedicate land for agriculture decreases. Apart from the reduced conversion of land to agricultural use the emergence of GM herbicide tolerant crops has accelerated and enabled the adoption of conservative tillage (no-till and reduced-till) practices. 30, 45, 48 Such practices enhance soil quality, reduce water run-off, conserves nutrients, increases water infiltration, and contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gases.

How does DNA transfer to plant cells?

17 By far the most common and widely used technique for direct DNA transfer is particle bombardment. Microparticle bombardment , also known as biolistics or the “gene gun”, was first developed by Sanford in the late 1980s 18 using pressurized helium to fire gold or tungsten microparticles (diameter between .5 and 1.0 μm) coated with the engineered gene of interest as naked DNA into the plant tissue at high velocities. The pressure used to project the microparticles varied depending upon the target tissues but could go up as high as 2,200 psi: the higher the velocity of the particles, the deeper the penetration into the target tissue. The primary targeted tissues were embryonic tissues from the seed or meristems. The engineered gene was delivered as a high copy number plasmid (a circle of DNA capable of replicating in a bacterial host during the engineering process) and once in the cell was capable of integrating into the plant genome, often in multiple copies. Although the equipment has become more sophisticated and the microprojectiles have changed with time, microparticle bombardment still operates on the same principles as the original Sanford “gene gun”. Microparticle bombardment has been successfully used to produce transgenic plants in a wide-range of crops including all of the cereals, some tuber crops, and trees. It has the advantage over other methods in that it can be used to transfer large DNA fragments and has even been used to transfer whole chromosomes and multiple independently engineered genes at the same time. 19

How has Bt-GM changed the world?

The deployment of Bt-GM crops has resulted in a significant decrease in the use of chemical pesticides in all countries where they have been adopted, along with the reduction in environmental impact and associated human exposure. 29 – 31 The reductions are both in quantities of active ingredient and the overall field EIQs for each major crop. In the U.S. the use of Bt-GM maize reduced the amount of pesticide used on corn to target corn borers and root-worms by 80% and the field EIQ load by 54%. Since 1966 the overall decrease in pesticide use on corn was 45% with a reduction of 38% for the field IEQ load. Where data is available, the reductions in total pesticide use and EIQ in all countries that have adopted Bt-maize cultivation. Similar figures are also available for Bt-cotton and other crops. 30 The beneficial economic, environmental, and human health effects resulting from a reduction in pesticide use (and reduced need for toxic pesticide alternatives) can be directly attributed to the ability of GM technologies to contain the pesticide within the plant that is targeted by specific insects (or other invertebrate pests) and to deliver the pesticide only to those pests that ingest the tissues of the plant. The reduction in the need to expose the environment and workers to chemical sprays is clearly a positive outcome of the deployment of GM crops.

How does genetic breeding work?

Conventional breeding relies on the introduction of new traits/genes into existing cultivars or commercial lines by sexual crosses i.e. crossing of one parental line with a second parental line that is expressing the desired trait (disease resistance, drought tolerance etc). Such a cross results in progeny that have inherited a complete set of genes from both parents so that although they have inherited the desired trait they have inherited a multitude of others, some of which may not be desirable and may reduce yield (a phenomenon called yield drag). To reduce yield drag breeders select progeny that best express the desired trait and cross it back to one of the parent plants in order to dilute out the negative traits inherited in the first cross (backcross). Through several iterations of this backcrossing scheme breeders eventually end up with a high yielding line that carries the desired trait. To achieve this requires many generations and several years (10 to 15years for wheat depending on the starting material) before lines can be tested in an agronomic setting or, as in the case for corn, used as a parental line in the production of commercial hybrids. Conventional breeding is also limited to what genetic variation is available in the gene pool of the crop or in a close relative that is sexually compatible. The search for genetic variation (gene variants) that can impact yield and productivity becomes more and more difficult and the incremental increases in yield become smaller and smaller with time. Yield is a complex phenotype and is the sum of the activity of a multitude of genes and rarely lends itself to rapid yield gains. Norman Borlaug’s lines dramatically altered crop yields not only by increasing the number of seeds per plants but also by adapting the plants to mechanized and high density cropping systems. Modern conventional breeding programs use varieties that are well adapted to modern production agriculture and thus yield gains based solely on plant performance are not as dramatic as those witnessed in the “Green Revolution” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Revolution ).

What is a GMO?

en Español (Spanish) Many people wonder what impacts GMO crops have on our world. “GMO” (genetically modified organism) is the common term consumers and popular media use to describe a plant, animal, or microorganism that has had its genetic material (DNA) changed using technology that generally involves the specific modification of DNA, …

What are the traits of GMO crops?

The three most common traits found in GMO crops are: For GMO crops that are resistant to insect damage, farmers can apply fewer spray pesticides to protect the crops. GMO crops that are tolerant to herbicides help farmers control weeds without damaging the crops.

When were GMOs first used?

Scientists often refer to this process as genetic engineering. Since the first genetically engineered crops, or GMOs, for sale to consumers were planted in the 1990s, researchers have tracked their impacts on and off the farm.

Is rainbow papaya a GMO?

The GMO papaya, called the Rainbow papaya. External Link Disclaimer. , is an example of a GMO crop developed to be resistant to a virus. When the ringspot virus threatened the Hawaii papaya industry and the livelihoods of Hawaiian papaya farmers, plant scientists developed the ringspot virus-resistant Rainbow papaya.

How does GMO affect the environment?

Many concerns have been raised for the environment: the capability of a GMO to escape from confinement and therefore potentially to transfer engineered genes into wild populations, the persistence of the gene after a GMO has been harvested, the susceptibility of non-target organisms to the gene product, the instability of new genes, the reduction of the spectrum of other plants resulting in a significant loss of biodiversity and an increase in the use of chemicals in agriculture. As for human health, the main concerns have been the possibility of a transfer of allergens into the new foods, the gene transfer from GM foods to human cells or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause worries especially transferred genetic material proved to adversely affect human health the transfer of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild, as well as the mixing of GM crops with those derived from conventional seeds, that could have an indirect effect on food safety and food security.

Why are GM crops important?

Supporters also consider GM crops indispensable in facing the severe global food and nutrition security problem in developing countries: although GM crops are not presented as the “absolute solution”, it has been stated that they could undoubtedly make a significant contribution to an array of measurements and incentives to this constantly growing problem (Conner et al. 2003).

What are the benefits of GM crops?

It is generally acknowledged that first-generation GM crops provide higher yields with fewer inputs (principally fuel and pesticides), which has important economic benefits for the agricultural industry in the industrialized world, but the more significant positive effects are seen in the developing world where GM crops allow subsistence farmers not only to survive but to take surplus produce to market, providing additional wealth that supports education, improves access to medicines, and leads to the empowerment of women (Christou and Twyman 2004; Yuan et al. 2011). However, the hysterical anti-GM activism and the resulting political expediency is seriously delaying this process, particularly by holding back the deployment of newer first-generation GM crops that are protected from drought, salinity and better suited to grow in hostile environments, as well as second-generation GM crops that have enhanced output traits such as better nutritional composition (Farre et al. 2011b). The industrialized world has the luxury of choice, at least for the time being, but in the developing world GM crops could turn the tide against plant diseases and pests, eliminate damaging agricultural practices, reduce hunger and malnutrition and produce cheap medicines in response to some of the world’s most pressing socioeconomic concerns (Farre et al. 2010; Gómez-Galera et al. 2010). It is no exaggeration to say that the anti-GM precedent currently set by Europe is indirectly contributing to death on a massive scale in Africa and Asia (Potrykus 2010).

How does the introduction of foreign genes affect human health?

The introduction of foreign genes into food plants has been considered to have an unexpected and negative impact on human health, in particular for the introduction of new allergens and/or for the effects of possible horizontal gene flow or any other unknown and uncontrollable effect of the transferred gene. On the other hand, future GM organisms are likely to include plants with increased nutrient levels, plants producing pharmaceutically important molecules and plants with improved resistance to diseases, cold, or drought, thus suitable for increasing food security in disadvantaged areas. Are GMOs, then, a risk or a potential benefit for human health?

What technologies have been developed to control transgene expression?

Finally, a variety of novel technologies have been developed to control transgene expression, e.g. spatiotemporal and inducible promoters (Peremarti et al. 2010), and to increase the precision of transgene integration into plants, e.g. transcriptional activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and zinc-finger nucleases (Weinthal et al. 2010).

Who is the scientist who is sceptical about GMOs?

Within this picture, seven different questions were posed to two scientists representing the two different points of view: Prof. Marcello Buiatti (Dept of Genetics at the University of Florence, Italy), who is sceptical about the use of GMOs in agriculture, and Prof. Paul Christou (Dept. of Plant Production and Forestery Sciences, University of Lleida, Spain), who represents those who view GMOs as an important tool for quantitatively and qualitatively improving food production.

When did GMOs become public?

Since the mid-1990s, the release of GMOs into the environment and the marketing of foods derived from GM crops has resulted in a scientific and public debate. Despite the potential benefits of the application of genetic engineering in agriculture in order to improve the quality and the reliability of the food supply, since the beginning, public and scientific concerns have been raised in many parts of the world about environmental and food safety of GM crops.

Why is it important to know what GMOs are?

Knowing what GMOs are, and why they are used, is key to making the best decisions when feeding your family. When thinking about GMOs, it pays to remember that scientists are focused on finding ways to help farmers manage the many challenges of producing food — from pests and disease to drought and erosion. Scientists rely on many old and new …

What is a GMO answer?

GMO Answers: GMO Answers is an initiative committed to responding to your questions about how food is grown. Its goal is to make information about GMOs in food and agriculture easier to access and understand.

Why do farmers use herbicides instead of tilling?

When farmers use herbicides instead of tilling to control weeds, it helps protect from soil erosion and keep nutrients and moisture in the soil.

What is genetically modified organism?

According to the World Health Organization, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms in which the genetic material (i.e., DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. Genetic modification allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another. In the case of food, crop seed can be genetically modified, which results in genetically modified food.

How does GM help plants?

GM can make crops resistant to insects and disease to keep the plants healthy and thriving.

What is genetic modification?

Genetic modification allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another. In the case of food, crop seed can be genetically modified, which results in genetically modified food.

How many people do farmers feed?

farmers help feed the world. According to the U.S. Farm Bureau Federation, one U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in the United States and abroad. The global population is expected to increase by 2.2 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than what is now produced.

Why are GMOs important?

[ 14] . GMOs can help address those problems with genetic engineering to improve crop yields and help farmers grow food in drought regions or on depleted soil, thereby lowering food prices and feeding more people.

What are some examples of GMOs?

Examples of GMOs include apples that don’t turn brown and disease-resistant papayas. [ 3] [ 4] At least 26 countries, including the United States, grow genetically modified crops, while 19 of 28 European Union nations have partially or fully banned GMOs. [ 5] [ 6] Food and ingredients from genetically engineered plants have been in our food supply …

How much of the US corn is genetically modified?

An estimated 94% of all soybean and 92% of all corn grown in the US is genetically modified and around 75% of all processed foods in the US contain GMO ingredients. [ 47] [ 48] At least two-thirds of all GM corn and half of all GM soy grown in the US are converted into animal feed.

Why are GM crops better than other crops?

GM crops can be engineered to reduce natural allergens and toxins, making them safer and healthier. Molecular biologist Hortense Dodo, PhD, genetically engineered a hypoallergenic peanut by suppressing the protein that can lead to a deadly reaction in people with peanut allergies. [ 12]

Why was tomato genetically modified?

The tomato was genetically modified to increase its firmness and extend its shelf life. [ 51] There are currently 10 genetically modified (GM) crops in production in the United States (also referred to as genetically engineered, or GE, crops), including corn, soybeans, and cotton.

How many studies have affirmed the safety of GM crops?

Over 2,000 global studies have affirmed the safety of GM crops. [ 10] Trillions of meals containing GMO ingredients have been eaten by humans over the past few decades, with zero verified cases of illness related to the food being genetically altered. [ 11]

How has selective breeding been used to alter the genetic makeup of plants?

Selective breeding techniques have been used to alter the genetic makeup of plants for thousands of years. More recently, genetic engineering has allowed for DNA from one species to be inserted into a different species to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs). [ 1 ] [ 2 ]

Why Do Farmers Use GMO Crops?

  • Most of the GMO crops grown today were developed to help farmers prevent crop loss. The three most common traits found in GMO crops are: 1. Resistance to insect damage 2. Tolerance to herbicides 3. Resistance to plant viruses For GMO crops that are resistant to insect damage, farmers can apply fewer spray pesticides to protect the crops. GMO crops …

See more on fda.gov

Do GMOs Have Impacts Beyond The Farm?

  • The most common GMO crops were developed to address the needs of farmers, but in turn they can help foods become more accessible and affordable for consumers. Some GMO crops were developed specifically to benefit consumers. For example, a GMO soybean that is used to create a healthier oil is commercially grown and available. GMO apples that do not brown when cut are n…

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Do GMOs Have Impacts Outside The United States?

  • GMOs also impact the lives of farmers in other parts of the world. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is working with partner countries to use genetic engineering to improve staple crops, the basic foods that make up a large portion of people’s diets. For example, a GMO eggplant developed to be insect resistant has been slowly released to farmers in Bangla…

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