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Checkbiotech: New updated genetically modified crops factsheet for the United States
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: September 06, 2004 08:06AM ;

Genetically modified food and agricultural biotechnology have generated
considerable interest and controversy in the United States and around the
world. Some tout the technology's benefits while others raise questions
about environmental and food safety issues. This paper provides background
information regarding the adoption of genetically modified plants among
domestic and international farms and is one in a series that the Pew
Initiative on Food and Biotechnology has developed to address common
questions that are frequently asked about genetically modified food and
agricultural biotechnology, September 2004 .

Crop varieties developed by genetic engineering were first introduced for
commercial production in 1996. Today, these crops are planted on more than
167 million acres worldwide. U.S. farmers are by far the largest producers
of genetically modified (GM) crops. In addition to summarizing the extent to
which GM crops have been adopted in the United States compared to other
countries, this factsheet also shows which GM crops U.S. farmers grow and
which states plant the most GM varieties.

Recent innovations in biotechnology allow scientists to select specific
genes from one organism and introduce them into another to confer a desired
trait. This technology can be used to produce new varieties of plants or
animals more quickly than conventional breeding methods and to introduce
traits not possible through traditional techniques. The principal
agricultural biotechnology products marketed to date have been genetically
modified crops engineered to tolerate herbicides and/or resist pests. Crops
carrying herbicide-tolerant genes were developed so that farmers could spray
their fields to eliminate weeds without damaging the crop. Likewise,
pest-resistant crops have been engineered to contain a gene for a protein
from the soil bacterium, Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt), which is toxic to
certain pests. This protein, referred to as Bt, is produced by the plant,
thereby making it resistant to insect pests like the European Corn Borer or
Cotton Boll Worm. Other pest-resistant GM crops on the market today have
been engineered to contain genes that confer resistance to specific plant

For the full document: The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology

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