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GMOs: the Future of Sustainable Agriculture?

cornGenetically modified crops — that can feed 9 billion by 2050 and tolerate heat, drought and disease — are the future of sustainable agriculture, writes David Rotman, editor of MIT Technology Review.

Crops yields have slowed, Rotman says. Wheat yields are growing at about 1 percent annually; they need to increase about 2 percent annually to match food demand. “Agricultural experts warn that yields will have to improve for other crops as well if we are to feed a rapidly growing population — and yet rising temperatures and other effects of global climate change will make this tougher to achieve,” he says.

Advances in biotech have made genetic engineering practices far more sophisticated than the transgenic techniques used in first-generation GMOs, Rotman writes. New genome engineering tools allow geneticists to edit plant DNA, making changes on chromosomes to create desirable traits instead of adding foreign genes.

Global sales of non-GMO food and beverage products will double to $800 billion by 2017, growth largely driven by demand in Europe and the US, according to a report by Packaged Facts published last month. The report, Non-GMO Foods: Global Market Perspective, says European consumers have rejected foods made using ingredients with genetically modified organisms, forcing international food companies such as Unilever, Nestlé and Coca-Cola to introduce or begin to develop non-GMO versions of their products.

Photo Credit: corn via Shutterstock

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6 thoughts on “GMOs: the Future of Sustainable Agriculture?

  1. GMO’s pose a significant health risk in our country. Many countries are banning GMO crops. Just because big business promotes GMOs as a great breakthrough, does not necessarily mean it is.

  2. GMOs: the Future of Sustainable Agriculture? Definitely not! Role of GMP´s is now far form from cleared, regarding it´s impact on whole “natural ecosystem”, and especially the behaviour or rather a policy of patent owners gives picture, how they will be utilised, again regarding the socio-economical impact. The whole story of GMO´s is present too shotly on the scene, and i?s presence has been beared on everything else but humanistic attitudes. Despite of this, the real problem represents the loss of biodiversity, since the world best mentioned reseaerch and design on this field could not by far be as “subtly elaborated” as the “work of the Nature” which so to say – “adress different aims” – as the profit driven GMO corporations. Repairing the mismanaged global climate risks through more of the same (i. e. ad hoc – – systemless measures… ) brings only blind effort to push the outfashioned economic paradigma ahead, and keeping the the world as dangerously ill as it is today.

  3. I guess the biotech industry paid for that advertising promoting their GMOs. The research I’ve been reading shows greater yields with truly sustainable agriculture, organic agriculture, significantly outpacing GM plants. Furthermore, there are significant health concerns not only from the GM plants, but also from the high doses of pesticides many of those crops are covered in. So I’ll just disregard your “bought and paid for” articles promoting GMOs that bring in big profits for these biotech and chemical companies in the form of synthetic fertilizer, seed patents and pesticide sales, not to mention the money their sister companies make on pharmaceuticals after people’s health is compromised from eating this junk. Furthermore, stop the FDA and USDA from waging war on small sustainable farmers, it’s obvious those agencies are more interested in protecting profits of big ag companies over protecting the health of citizens.

  4. Wow, did a year-end gift turn up at the school treasury? I expect more from MIT than a double-barreled push for GMOs because it is “technology.” (this article and http://www.technologyreview.com/fromtheeditor/522601/gmos-are-green/#comment ).

    High input, soil-life-depleting models of agriculture will not be a sustainable approach. Ah, but of course Monsanto is working on Round-up ready soil microbes!!

    I would advise all reading these article to review the work of Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT -http://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/ (Of course you will find sources downplaying and ridiculing her work).

    Also review – http://web.mit.edu/demoscience/Monsanto/impact.html

    Real issues to address to feed the world are: women’s rights (which leads to population control), equity and justice issues, food waste and spoilage.

  5. The world has more than enough food to feed it’s people. We waste about 1/3 of the food produced annually. People go hungry because they do not have the money to purchase this food or political enemies use it as a weapon.

    Stop the Monsanto scare tactics and do your research: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp/h%3Cspan%20class='pullme'%3EIn%20short,%20when%20you%20empower%20a%20woman,%20you%20change%20the%20world%3C/span%3Ettp:/www.unfpa.org/www.fao.org/html/html/story.asp?NewsID=45816&Cr=food+security&Cr1=#.UuQyk40o6Tg

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