A report released today by the National Research Council (NRC), an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences,Â gave genetically modified crops favorable reviews in an assessment of their benefit to farmers.
The report was called theÂ "first comprehensive assessment of how all genetically engineered crops are affecting U.S. farmers".
The study found that GE crops (making up about 80% of soybean, corn and cotton grown in the U.S.) offer a range of economic and environmental benefits to farmers. These include the need to use less insecticide due to GE crops' resistance to insects as well as lower production costs and higher yields.
The findings do express concern that weeds will develop a resistance to herbicide glyphosate -- a main ingredient in Roundup and other commercial weed-killers -- due to repeated exposure.
It's also worth noting that the study was concerned with benefit to the farmers and overall environmental impact, not necessarily the effects on individual consumers.
Critics Not Persuaded
Needless to say, critics of genetically modified (GMO) crops remain unconvinced.
Aside from the obvious economic benefits that GE crops offer to farmers, critics remain concerned about the long-term health affects for consumers and the environmental impact of GMO crops, arguing that 14 years is an inadequate length of time to determine what the long-term impacts of the move to GMO crops will be.
GMO crops have become commonplace in North America, Latin America and parts of Asia since their introduction, but Europe remains reluctant to jump on the GE bandwagon.
What Do You Think?
Are you convinced by the findings of this study? Are GMO crops really safe for the planet and consumers? Leave a comment and let us know where you stand.
- Study Says Overuse Threatens Gains From Modified Crops (NY Times)
- Biotech Crops Are Good For The Earth, Report Finds (NPR)