UK Telegraph: Promise of GE to feed the world is overblown

The following is an edited excerpt.

Genetic modification has so far mainly been confined to developing crops that tolerate herbicides (often manufactured by the same company, thus encouraging their use) and resist pests. They have done little to increase yields per se – though they have helped by controlling weeds and insects – while varieties designed to withstand drought and floods, and improve nutrition, are only now beginning to emerge.

GM may be able to do jobs that more conventional techniques cannot manage: conferring heat resistance to cope with global warming is one candidate. But the impression often given by its proponents that it is the main source of new crops, and thus essential to feed the world, could hardly be further from the truth.

Nor is biotechnology all GM. The Nerica rices, for example, owe their existence to cell tissue culture. Scuba rice was produced through the technique of marker-assisted selection, which identifies and enables the use of a whole sequence of genes.

Read the original article in its entirety here: The inconvenient truth about GM

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