Could success of Europe’s only cultivated GMO crop help ease public fear of biotechnology?

| | July 7, 2020
corn kernels hand field x
Credit: Organic Consumers Association
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Within the spirit of breaking the taboo around [GMOs], we had decided to start working on a manuscript a few years ago that was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal. This publication reports on a decade worth of data collected from farmer interviews growing the only genetically modified plant currently for sale in the EU, referred to as MON 810 corn.

[Editor’s note: Lieselot Bertho is a global regulatory manager of Bayer’s Seeds and Traits Organization.]

This plant expresses a bacterial protein that provides it with protection against damage caused by two European insect pests. Many people may not be aware that, since the early 2000’s, this GM corn has been grown year after year in many European countries.

Related article:  Nigeria's greenlighting of Bt insect resistant cotton and cowpeas may spur Africa's acceptance of GMOs

The results of analyzing this enormous and unique data set clearly and statistically demonstrate the benefits that growing this GM corn brings not only to EU farmers, but also the environment in the EU. A couple of examples:

  • A decreased use of pesticides.
  • Reduced susceptibility to disease and pests ….
  • Healthier and higher yielding corn plants compared with conventional varieties.

…. Consequently, farmers in these countries have benefited in ways that European farmers today cannot due to the sensitivities regarding the use of GM technology in agriculture. I hope that this publication creates more awareness that …. farmers choose to plant [this crop] year after year because of the benefits it has brought to them.

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