Biotech firms have touted the potential of genetically engineered (GE) crops to address the global hunger crisis. Many hopes (and many more dollars) have been invested in the promise of GE technology to increase crop yields. According to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), this technology has thus far failed to deliver.
To better understand these new findings, it is worth elucidating some of the murky terminology. In a recent radio interview, plant pathologist Dr. Pamela Ronald explains “there is nothing that [the typical American family] will eat tonight that is not genetically modified.” She goes on to clarify her use of the term: all but the most wild of crop varieties have been “genetically modified,” in the traditional sense, through conventional plant breeding between compatible species (to complicate matters, the term “genetically modified,” or GM, often refers to GE foods). This is in contrast to GE, or “transgenic” crops, created in laboratories by combining the genetic information of distinct, usually unrelated (a plant and a bacterium, for example), species. Read More >