Agronomy for Sustainable Development

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Pharmaceutical crops in California, benefits and risks. A review

  • Michelle Marvier
Review Article


Crops are being genetically engineered to produce a wide variety of drugs, vaccines and other pharmaceutical proteins. Although these crops may open the door to less expensive and more readily available drugs, there is concern regarding the potential for contamination of human food and livestock feed, as well as environmental harm. The outlook for the production of pharmaceutical crops in California currently appears mixed. To date, 18 federal permits for field trials involving pharmaceutical or industrial proteins have been approved in California. However, the state’s farming community and general public have thus far rejected pharmaceutical crop production, and a handful of local governments have recently banned the cultivation of genetically modified crops, including pharmaceutical crops. In light of the many pros and cons, three major approaches — the precautionary approach, risk analysis and cost-benefit analysis — could be used to move the debate about pharmaceutical crops forward.

pharmaceutical crops transgene GMO protein vaccine blood thinners, hemoglobin insulin growth hormones cancer contraceptives hepatitis B cholera, rabies HIV malaria influenza maize bananas, tomatoes carrots lettuce risk 


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Copyright information

© Springer S+B Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Studies Institute and Department of BiologySanta Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA

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