Viewpoint: We need GMO, CRISPR-edited crops to help feed 10 billion people

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Genetic engineering saved the papaya industry. The same technology could help protect additional crops as the climate changes.

If we want to feed 10 billion people by 2050, in a world beset by rising temperatures and scarcer water supplies, we will need to dramatically change the way we produce food. Increased public investment in technologies like genetic engineering is a vital piece of that, according to a report published [July 17] by the World Resources Institute.

[Editor’s note: See page 185 of the report for to learn more about crop biotechnology and food security.]

“We have to increase yields dramatically, at an even higher rate than we’ve done historically,” said Tim Searchinger, lead author of the report. “It’s got to be done by growing smarter.”

While public debate has centered on its two primary uses—in soybeans and corn for resistance to the herbicide glyphosate and production of a natural insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), in corn and cotton—the WRI implores us to look further. “We do not believe that debate over these particular GM traits should dictate policy about the entire technology of genetic engineering,” the report says.

Related article:  GMO crops cover 191 million hectares worldwide—113-fold increase since 1996

Instead, the report points out that genetic modification saved the Hawaiian papaya population from a deadly virus, and says it may be able to do the same for potatoes in Uganda, soybeans in Brazil and tomatoes in Florida.

Read full, original article: Feeding 10 Billion People Will Require Genetically Modified Food

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