GMO meta-study: Pesticide use down 37%, yields up 22%, profits rise 68%

a d ca ef b c b wi

A meta-study published this week in PLOS ONE—A Meta-Analysis of the Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops–crunched data from 147 studies.

Despite the rapid adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops by farmers in many countries, public controversies about the risks and benefits continue. Numerous independent science academies and regulatory bodies have reviewed the evidence about risks, concluding that commercialized GM crops are safe for human consumption and the environment. There are also plenty of studies showing that GM crops cause benefits in terms of higher yields and cost savings in agricultural production [8][12], and welfare gains among adopting farm households. However, some argue that the evidence about impacts is mixed and that studies showing large benefits may have problems with the data and methods used. Uncertainty about GM crop impacts is one reason for the widespread public suspicion towards this technology. We have carried out a meta-analysis that may help to consolidate the evidence.

Our meta-analysis concentrates on the most important GM crops, including herbicide-tolerant (HT) soybean, maize, and cotton, as well as insect-resistant (IR) maize and cotton. For these crops, a sufficiently large number of original impact studies have been published to estimate meaningful average effect sizes.

This meta-analysis confirms that the average agronomic and economic benefits of GM crops are large and significant. Impacts vary especially by modified crop trait and geographic region. Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect resistant crops than for herbicide tolerant crops. Yield and farmer profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries. Recent impact studies used better data and methods than earlier studies, but these improvements in study design did not reduce the estimates of GM crop advantages. Rather, NGO reports and other publications without scientific peer review seem to bias the impact estimates downward. But even with such biased estimates included, mean effects remain sizeable.

Read full, original paperA Meta-Analysis of the Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend