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Research Project: Genetics and Genomics of Complex Traits in Grain Crops

Location: Plant Genetics Research

Title: Why we need GMO crops in agriculture

item Oliver, Melvin

Submitted to: Missouri Medicine
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2014
Publication Date: 12/1/2014
Citation: Oliver, M.J. 2014. Why we need GMO crops in agriculture. Missouri Medicine. 111.6:493-507.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The fact that in a very short period of 35 years the global population will reach an estimated 9 billion people presents a massive challenge to agriculture: how do we feed all of these people with nutritious food in a sustainable way? At the present time the yields of most of our major crops are stagnating but the demand for food, both grain and animal protein, is growing. To meet the challenge of improving crop yields requires a constant commitment to generating a conveyor belt of improved cultivars and lines for all of the major crops. Conventional breeding cannot keep pace with what is required on its own and to meet the targets biotechnology and the production of GM crops is filling the gap. However, there are still concerns as to the safety of GM crops for human consumption and the environment. In this review I explore the need for GM crops, the way they are produced and the impact and safety of GM crops. The future is very promising for GM technologies to enhance our efforts to meet the future global needs for food feed and fiber in a sustainable and responsible way. However, GM crops are only one piece of the puzzle and to meet the targeted yields, nutritional quality, and sustainable production we will need all of the tools at our disposal including conventional and organic food production systems.