Potentials and Risks of GM Crops

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy book series (AEFP)


Agenetically modified (GM) crop is a plant used for agricultural purposes into which genes coding for desirable traits have been inserted through genetic engineering. The term genetic modification is somewhat misleading, as it implies that plants had not been genetically modified before techniques of genetic engineering were developed. As described in chapter 2, humans have modified the genetic makeup of plants since the beginnings of agriculture. Without the initial cultivation of plants, our cereals would still be seed-shedding wild grasses and our potatoes small, toxic lumps. Without systematic selection, our maize would be unrecognizable, and sugarbeets would not exist in their known form. Without scientific plant breeding, our crops would be relatively inefficient nutrient converters and susceptible to countless diseases and pests. All of these developments represent genetic modifications of crops, which would not have occurred naturally without human intervention. And without these interventions by breeders, agricultural yields would only be a fraction of what they are today. It is thus not the genetic modification of plants that is new, but some of the methods involved in achieving this modification (Kloppenburg, 2004; Becker, 2011).


Genetically Modify Horizontal Gene Transfer Genetically Modify Crop Genetically Modify Food Genetically Modify Plant 
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© Matin Qaim 2016

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