GMO crops may be necessary to counter impacts of climate change, study shows

GMO climate change

New research suggests that the type of yield gains made possible by genetic engineering (GE) will be needed to offset climate change impacts on agriculture.

The researchers said their study, published [November 29] in Environmental Research Letters, has “important implications for regions lagging in the adoption of new technologies which could help offset the detrimental effects of climate change.”

The study reviewed production data from 500 counties in eight Midwestern states …. Using climate change models, the researchers then calculated county-level climate change impacts on yields in percentage terms.

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They found that maize yield trends increased by almost 70 percent around the period of rapid adoption of GE seeds. [But] “…. benefits can vary substantially across alternative growing conditions associated with local biotic and abiotic factors and interactions thereof.”

Related article:  GM eggplant helps farmers reduce pesticide use and increase profits, study finds

Though agricultural productivity in Africa and Asia is predicted to be heavily impacted by climate change, political leaders in those regions have been slow to adopt GE technology ….

[N]ations may not have the luxury of avoiding new technology if they want to ensure food security in a warming world …. “Our results suggest that US maize yields could stagnate under a business-as-usual scenario even with bold assumptions about the sustained growth in crop yields. This has serious implications for other crops and countries …. where technology adoption lags and the use of GE crops are prohibited,” [the researchers wrote].

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Read full, original article: Study: GMO crops could help offset climate change impacts

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