Drought- and salt-tolerant GM crops
Claims that GM crops are needed to feed the world rest on repeated claims that drought-tolerant and salt-tolerant GM crops will be developed. However, these are complex traits that depend on many complex interactions between a plant and its environment, they are not controlled by just a single gene.
Monsanto's rivals DuPont and Syngenta both announced new drought tolerant maize (corn) varieties in 2011. Both varieties were conventionally bred and did not use genetic engineering. Indigenous non-GM drought-tolerant crop varieties are also readily available.
Although Monsanto has a drought-tolerant GM maize under development, a draft report from the US Department of Agriculture in 2011 highlighted that it did not perform any better than conventional varieties.
Salt-tolerant GM crops were first promised over thirty years ago by the US Office of Technology Assessment in its 1981 report. No salt-tolerant GM crops are in the pipeline. Conventionally-bred salt-tolerant crops have been produced using far less money.
- Press articles
- Reuters: Science group finds drought-tolerant GMO corn lacking (5th June 2012)
- Mother Jones: USDA Greenlights Monsanto's Utterly Useless New GMO Corn (23rd January 2012)
The StarPhoenix: Study debunks myths on organic farms (27th September 2011)
Reports a Pennsylvania study showing organic corn yields were 31 per cent higher than conventional in years of drought: much better than GM drought-tolerant crops.
- External links
- Press releases
- GeneWatch reports