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Bt Insect Resistant maize (corn)

maize
maize
Insect protected Bt corn produces superior yields in African field trial, photos courtesy AfricaBio/CropLife.


Although ranking third in global production (after wheat and rice) no grain is harnessed to a broader variety of uses than maize (corn), many of them crucial to smallholder livelihoods in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (UNFAO, World Food Situation). One of the major constraints on maize production comes from lepidopteran pests that attack either the grain (e.g., European corn borer) or the roots (e.g. black cutworm). Biotech innovators have taken genes that encode for proteins widely used for pest control by organic growers and inserted them into maize (and cotton) to provide built in protection through a safe, targeted, pest specific control measure that dramatically reduces the need for pesticide sprays.

Benefits to farmers around the world from these insect resistant traits in maize were calculated at $5.4 billion in 2014, and a cumulative total of $41.5 billion from 1996-2014 (Global income and production impacts of using GM crop technology 1996-2014). It is also worth noting that of the 18 million farmers growing biotech improved crops globally in 2015, 17 million of them were smallholders in developing countries (Brief 51: 20th Anniversary (1996 to 2015) of the Global Commercialization of Biotech Crops and Biotech Crop Highlights in 2015).

Small farmers in South Africa and the Philippines were among the first to benefit from these biotech insect resistant traits in maize (Genetically Modified Maize: Less Drudgery for Her, More Maize for Him? Evidence from Smallholder Maize Farmers in South Africa). They also saw additional benefits from the reduction in cancer causing fungal contaminants commonly found in corn but which are dramatically reduced in biotech insect resistant varieties (Reduced Fusarium Ear Rot and Symptomless Infection in Kernels of Maize Genetically Engineered for European Corn Borer Resistance).

In addition to such economic and safety benefits, biotech innovators are also exploring nutritional improvements to corn that could benefit to millions (Genetically Boosting The Nutritional Value Of Corn Could Benefit Millions).









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Support Precision Agriculture

Support GMOs and Golden Rice - Home
Laureates Letter Supporting Precision Agriculture (GMOs)
NEWS
More Information About GMOs
The developing world needs GMOs
More sense about GMOs
GMO FAQs
Related Links   Videos
Web links
Articles
Books

How You Can Help
Join us
Contact us