|Rajasekaran, Kanniah - Rajah|
Submitted to: American Chemistry Society Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/8/2002
Publication Date: 6/24/2002
Citation: Rajasekaran, K., Jacks, T.J., Finley, J.W. 2002. Overview of crop biotechnology. In: Rajasekaran, K., Jacks, T.J., Finley, J.W. (editors). Crop Biotechnology. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. p. 1-6.
Technical Abstract: The influence of crop biotechnology on outcomes of agricultural practices and economics is readily evidenced by the escalating acreage of genetically engineered crops, all occurring in a relatively short time span. Until the mid 1990s, virtually no acreage was planted with commercial genetically modified (GM) crops worldwide. But by 2001 transgenic plants globally comprised 46% of the soybean crop (equivalent to 82 million acres), 20% of the cotton crop (17 million acres), 11% of the canola crop (7 million acres) and 7% of the corn crop (24 million acres). Combining areas for these four principal crops shows that 19% of the total acreage under tillage supports GM crops. Amazingly, in just six years, the total area planted with GM crops increased by more than 30-fold, from slightly more than 4 million acres in 1996 to 130 million in 2001 (1)! Although areas for production of GM crops might be reaching plateaus in farmlands of industrial countries, this will not happen in developing countries for a long time period. Additional biotechnological developments of staple grain crops such as rice and wheat will put even more acreage into GM crop production. Furthermore, with a nationwide research staff of about 2000 members studying crop biotechnology supported by a budget eclipsing that in 1999 of $112 million, China will add substantially to global GM crop acreage in the future (2). Indeed, over 50 plant species and more than 120 functional genes are currently being employed in the development of GM plants, making China a global leader in crop biotechnology.