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Shaping the Future of GMO Research

Stakeholder with interests in the risk and/or benefit assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are invited to take part in an online survey.

The aim of this survey is to identify which research needs should be prioritised, thereby contributing to the commissioning of research on the health, environment and economic impacts of GMOs.

The survey will close on 15th July 2015.

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Video: GMO Soybeans & Sustainability

Producing stable food yields for a growing world population is a major challenge for agriculture. Soil erosion, water shortages, climate change and shrinking farmland pose serious threats to essential resources, while human needs continue to grow. But what is the concept behind sustainability and can GM crops (e.g. herbicide tolerant soybeans) help us move towards a sustainable form of agriculture?



The European Commission authorized 17 GMOs

(24 Apr 2015) The European Commission licensed 10 new GM varieties of maize, soy, oilseed rape and cotton for import, as well as renewing seven existing licenses.


EU Commission: Proposal for the nationalization of GM imports

(22 Apr 2015) The College of European Commissioners published a proposal for the nationalization of GM imports. If adopted it would give individual EU countries the right to restrict or ban the use of GM products in their territory after they have received EU-wide approval. The European Commission authorized 17 GMOs


New GM plants: Authorization bottleneck

(24 Feb 2015) Until now, GM crop cultivation has focused on maize, soybeans and cotton. Although a lot of research is conducted on other crops (new GM plants that can cope with drought, flooding and attacks by pests, and plants that have been fortified with nutrients are being grown in greenhouses around the world and tested in field trials), not many have been authorized. Two French scientists have now published an overview of the most important research projects.


Val Giddings, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Unfounded fears surrounding GMOs distorts policy decision making

A policymaker's Guide to the GMO Controversies by Val Giddings

(22 Feb 2015) Crops and foods improved through biotechnology remain at the center of a maelstrom of conflicting claims and assertions. This is evident throughout all media, but especially on the Internet. Because bad information makes for bad policy choices this report provides some factual information, with abundant citations from independent third party authorities.

It examines several key questions that have been repeatedly visible in media of late. These include

  • the economic benefits of GMOs,

  • the U.S. rate of adoption of GMOs,

  • the level of success of the labeling movement,

  • the role of GMOs in affecting weeds and human health, and

  • the sustainability of GMO-based agriculture.

In all six cases the report finds overwhelming evidence for the economic, agricultural, environmental, and health benefits of GMOs.


Meta-analysis shows: Less pesticides, increased yields and profits

(5 Nov 2014) The average agronomic and economic benefits of GM crops are large and significant. This demonstrates the meta-analysis carried out by Wilhelm Klümper and Matin Qaim from the University of Goettingen in Germany. A meta-analysis is a statistical technique for combining the findings from independent studies. In this case the researchers analysed 147 original studies on the agronomic and economic impact of agricultural biotechnology worldwide. The overall conclusions are, that the adoption of GM crops

  • reduced chemical use by 37%
  • increased crop yields by 22%
  • increased farmer profits by 68%.


European top scientists are advocating for GM crops
(30 Oct 2014) More than twenty of Europe's most prominent plant scientists signed a joint letter warning that Europe will never meet agricultural targets unless it starts allowing GM crops.

Europe’s leading plant scientists call for urgent action to defend research, Press Release from Umeå University (30 Oct 2014)

EU research project GRACE publishes first study findings
(15 Oct 2014) The GRACE research project was asked by the European Commission to test various methods for identify the medium- and long-term health impacts of eating GM crops. In 90-day feeding trials two GM maize MON 810 varieties tested did not trigger any negative effects in the trial animals. 


Golden Rice: Delayed approval has serious consequences
(4 Mar 2014) More than 2 50,000 children go blind every year because of Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A intake can be enhanced by consuming Golden Rice — a genetically engineered variety of rice. It was available for commercialization in 2002, but approval has been delayed. A study estimates that this delay has resulted in 600,000 to 1.2 million additional cases of blindness.

The Cost of Delaying Approval of Golden Rice



GM crops continue to boost productivity and farm incomes worldwide

28 May 2014

During the last 17 years, the adoption of GMO technology has resulted in significant socio-economic benefits and advantages for farmers in developing and developed countries. The income and productivity gains stem predominantly from the fact that GM crops have enabled farmers to switch to more sustainable farming practices. This is one of the results of the ninth annual report from PG Economics, the UK-based agricultural economists, entitled GM Crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2012.

Read the complete article



Importing GM soybeans or expanding European cultivation of grain legumes: which is more sustainable?

27 May 2014

The European Union’s high dependence on soy imports as a source of animal protein feed is facing increasing resistance. One aspect of the criticism levelled against soy imports is the negative public attitude towards GM soy beans and meal, which make up over 90 per cent of imported soy. In current political debates there are therefore calls to replace GM soy imports by expanding European cultivation of grain legumes. According to calculations by OVID, the German oil seed processors’ association, this would have disastrous effects: the EU would produce less wheat and take up more agricultural land outside of the EU in order to meet its demands.

Read the complete article


German Bundestag votes for national self-determination on GMO cultivation

22 May 2014

The German Bundestag is calling for self-determination of Member States in relation to the cultivation of genetically modified plants. On 21 May, it asked the German government to “create legal options for national opt-outs”. Germany will therefore speak out in favour of national cultivation bans at the meeting of the EU Council of Ministers scheduled for June. This will remove the blocking minority at EU level that has so far prevented the adoption of an opt-out clause.

Read the complete article


The Queen of Beans

26 September 2013

With the growth in global demand for soybeans comes an increasing need for responsible soy production. Laura Foell, a director of the United Soybean Board, has been farming soybeans for more than two decades. In her experience, transgenic crops are an important tool for making soybean production more sustainable.

Read the complete article

Peer Review – Where you thought it ended? That’s just the beginning!

22 July 2013

A Guest Article by Dr. L. Val Giddings, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

“This is a peer-reviewed study!”

In the increasingly heated battles waged lately by crusaders against innovation in agriculture, such assertions are increasingly thrown down like a gauntlet. The intent is to negate findings by regulators and scientists around the world that crops and foods improved through biotechnology are safe. These advocates argue passionately that “paper X”, published in a scientific journal after being reviewed by anonymous scientists and an editor, is sufficient to overturn the findings of hundreds of previously published reports to say nothing of the vast experience accumulated through the consumption of trillions of meals derived from biotech improved crops since they first entered the marketplace in the mid 1990s. When these papers are criticized by scientists post-publication, cries of censorship and persecution inevitably arise, and are routinely coupled with claims that the critics are bought and paid for by vested corporate interests. But the noisemakers overlook something fundamental about the culture of science: where they thought peer review ended -is really where it gets going ...

Read the complete article

Africa’s path to self-sufficiency

5 July 2013

Africa is facing huge challenges through population growth, land-scarcity and climate change. But instead of relying on outside help, African countries are increasingly focusing on their own strengths. 

An important aspect of this development is the focus on the research and cultivation of genetically-modified crops. Many African countries see these crops as an opportunity to deal with domestic pests, diseases and drought, and as an opportunity to increase the agricultural output significantly. Therefore, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and other countries in Africa are investing in biotechnology to find creative solutions for future challenges.

More information

Without GM crops European agriculture will not achieve sustainability goals

30 April 2013

The European Union cannot meet its goals in agricultural policy without genetically engineered crops (GMOs). That's the conclusion of UK and Spanish scientists who published in Trends in Plant Science. Based on several case studies the report shows that the EU is undermining its own competitiveness in the agricultural sector as well as that of its humanitarian activities in the developing world. Although agricultural sustainability is a key program of the common agricultural policy (CAP) the current strategies in fact hamper the development of key technologies to achieve those objectives. As a consequence, European agriculture will become almost entirely dependent on the outside world for food and feed and scientific progress.



Academics Review - Testing popular claims against peer-reviewed science

Genetic Roulette is Jeffrey Smith’s second self-published book in which he makes claims against biotechnology. In it, he details 65 separate claims that the technology causes harm in a variety of ways. On this website each of those claims are stacked up against peer-reviewed science.

Global impacts from adoption of genetically modified crops

Economic and environmental benefits of GM crops in Canada, South Africa and the Phillipines
(Stuart Smyth, University of Saskatchewan)

Related studies:

Economic Benefits of Genetically-modified Herbicide-tolerant Canola for Producers

Assessing the Performance of GM Maize Amongst Smallholders in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Impacts of Bt Maize on Smallholder Income in the Philippines




An EU Research Project

What are the risks of growing GM crops?

What are the benefits?

Numerous studies have addressed the potential impacts of genetically modified (GM) plants. Yet the existing evidence on the effects of GM plants is often contradictory and the quality of scientific research varies widely.

Therefore, the GRACE project will establish new tools for assessing the quality of existing studies and will conduct comprehensive reviews to identify health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants.

More information


GMO Soybeans & Sustainability

Less soil erosion and fuel consumption: herbicide tolerant soybeans are promoting sustainable cultivation methods.


Glyphosate in European agriculture

Interview with a farmer

Glyphosate containing herbicides are not only used in fields with GM crops. They also allow conventional farmers to sow directly into stubble fields without ploughing. Glyphosate has replaced mechanical weed control in many crops and has had an important impact on agricultural practices and crop yields in Europe over the past few decades.

European Glyphosate Task Force

Animation: The Authorisation Process in Motion!
Applying, consulting, and making a decision: The long and winding road to GMO authorisation in EU
start animation
 Biosafety research:

Impact of Bt maize on
insect communities

Impact of Bt maize on
honey bees

More videos

Jenny asks: How does the PCR method work?

At Germany's Institute for the Chemical and Veterinary Analysis of Food (CVUA) in Freiburg they use the PCR method to test food for traces of GM plants.

Jenny asks: How does Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer work?

Agrobacteria are a naturally occurring species of soil bacteria, which are able to transfer genes to plant cells. But how does this work? Jenny asks Thorsten Manthey of RLP AgroScience.


Promise and Reality

A Nature special issue

"The introduction of the first transgenic plant 30 years ago heralded the start of a second green revolution, providing food to the starving, profits to farmers and environmental benefits to boot. Many GM crops fulfilled the promise. But their success has been mired in controversy with many questioning their safety, their profitability and their green credentials. A polarized debate has left little room for consensus.

In this special issue, Nature explores the hopes, the fears, the reality and the future."

(Source: Nature)

Nature's special issue

May 7, 2013 [nach oben springen]

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