Report forecasts continued GM growth

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					                                                                                                                   160         inform March 2009, Vol. 20 (3)

  Briefs
  B ayer CropScience ( Monheim,
                                                                          Biotechnology News
  Germany) and the German Leibniz
  Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop
  Plant Research (IPK; Gatersleben) have
  entered into a research agreement to
  develop genetically modified (GM),
  high-yielding canola hybrids. Bayer
  CropScience’s aim is to incorporate
  the innovations that are developed in
  Gatersleben, close to Magdeburg, into
  its InVigor ® Canola seed business in
  North America, and to develop global
  oilseed rape products for markets in
  which there is high demand for health-
                                             Courtesy Fernando Weberich




  ful, high-quality oils.
                     nnn
  Reed Business Information reported
  on February 21 that GM corn had
  been detected in wild varieties of the
  plant in Mexico. Reports Reed: “In
  2001, when biologists David Quist
  and Ignacio Chapela reported finding
  transgenes from GM corn in tradi-                                       Report forecasts                                 countries to learn by example. Additionally,
                                                                                                                           political leaders globally are increasingly
  tional varieties in Oaxaca, Mexico,
  they faced a barrage of criticism over
                                                                          continued GM                                     viewing biotech-enhanced crops as a key
                                                                                                                           part of the solution to critical social issues
  their techniques. Nature, which had
  published the research, eventually dis-
                                                                          growth                                           of food security and sustainability.”
                                                                                                                                James pointed out that G-8 leaders in
  owned their paper, while a second                                       An additional 1.3 million farmers planted        2008 for the first time recognized the sig-
  study by different researchers failed to                                10.7 million new hectares (ha) of biotech        nificance of genetically engineered (GE)
                                                                          crops in three new countries in 2008,            crops and called to “accelerate research and
  back up their findings.” A more recent
                                                                          according to the International Service for       development and increase access to new
  study, though, seems to vindicate their
                                                                          the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applica-         agricultural technologies to boost agricul-
  claims. Elena Alvarez-Buylla and col-                                   tions (ISAAA) brief, entitled Global Status      ture production.”
  leagues at the National Autonomous                                      of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops                    The UK’s Independent Online (www.
  University (Mexico City) reported                                       2008, that was released mid-February. The        independent.co.uk), though, cited “biotech
  that they found transgenes “in about                                    ISAAA also forecast that genetically modi-       opponents” who doubted the report’s
  1% of nearly 2000 samples they took                                     fied (GM) crops were “poised for a second        claims.
  from the region.” See Molecular Ecology                                 wave of strong adoption that will drive sus-          “GM crops are all about feeding
  (18:750–761, 2009) for more on the                                      tained global growth through the end of the      biotech giants, not the world’s poor,” said
  findings.                                                               second decade of commercialization, 2006         Nnimmo Bassey, head of Friends of the
                     nnn                                                  to 2015.” ISAAA has been tracking global         Earth International. “GM seeds and the
  Scientists from the US Department of                                    biotech crop adoption trends since 1996.         pesticides used with them are much too
  Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute                                          The annual report found that 13.3           expensive for Africa’s small farmers. Those
  (JGI; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab-                                   million farmers in a record 25 countries         who promote this technology in develop-
  oratory, California) and the University                                 planted 125 million ha of GM crops last          ing countries are completely out of touch
  of California, San Diego (USA) have                                     year, the sixth-largest growth spurt in 13       with reality.”
  developed a set of molecular tools                                      years of reporting. The 2 billionth cumula-           James cited a number of indicators
  that provide important insight into                                     tive acre of biotech crops also was planted      to support his forecast for increasing GM
  the complex genomes of multicel-                                        in 2008, just three years after the first bil-   use:
                    
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: James cited a number of indicators to support his forecast for increasing GM use: * Bolivia, the ninth biotech country in Latin America and the eighth-largest global producer of soybeans, planted 600,000 ha of herbicide-tolerant soy in 2008; * there was a sharp growth in trait hectares or "virtual hectares" with 10 countries reporting 22 million additional ha of biotech crops with more than one biotech trait. The ISAAA report predicted that the use of socalled "stacked traits" would drive this number even higher in the future; * a new biotech crop, herbicide- tolerant sugar beet, was planted in the United States and Canada for the first time in 2008.
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