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Ten Percent of World's Crops Are Genetically Engineered

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, and our Millions Against Monsanto page.


The amount of land devoted to genetically engineered crops grew 10% last year, and 7% in the year before, as farmers in major grain and soy exporting countries such as Brazil and Argentina continued to adopt the new seeds.

These so-called biotech crops, often bred with genes that allow them to tolerate weed killers or generate their own insecticides, now cover 10% of the world's farmland, up from nothing just 15 years ago.

The figures are in this year's International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report, out Tuesday. Of the four most commonly planted biotech crops, a rising percentage of the total of all plantings are biotech. In 2010, 81% of all soybeans, 64% of cotton, 29% of corn and 23% of canola globally were from biotech seeds, the ISAAA says.

The most common modification is herbicide tolerance, where plants are given a gene that allows farmers to spray them with the weed killer glyphosate, known to most home gardeners as Roundup, without harming them. Sixty-one percent of biotech crops carry this gene.

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