How GMO, gene-edited crops can help feed billions of people without fueling climate change

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We face a formidable challenge in the years ahead. We need to reduce [carbon] emissions and also sustain a growing population in a world of increasingly extreme conditions.

To do so, we’re going to need to abandon some of our attachment to what we perceive as natural, and not just at the supermarket. After all, we’re not going to stop global warming merely by chasing after premium versions of food that only a few consumers can afford. We need to revise our thinking about food so that, as citizens, we can push for the regulatory policies that will meaningfully shift our entire food system’s effect on the climate.

Related article:  Novel resistant genes for late blight, disease behind 1840s Irish Potato Famine, discovered

Affluent, environmentally conscious shoppers often shun GMOs …. While most GMO crops are still either herbicide tolerant or pest resistant, more climate-change-ready traits are beginning to roll out. North American farmers are already planting corn engineered to be drought tolerant, though the seeds have mixed reviews.

Genetically engineered drought-tolerant soybeans have been approved in the US, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina—where they are expected to be planted later this year. Corn engineered with drought tolerance and insect resistance for smallholder African farmers, funded by charitable entities, is aiming to be in farmers’ hands by 2023.

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