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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2009;60:511-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.043008.092013.

Genetically engineered plants and foods: a scientist's analysis of the issues (part II).

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Genetic engineering provides a means to introduce genes into plants via mechanisms that are different in some respects from classical breeding. A number of commercialized, genetically engineered (GE) varieties, most notably canola, cotton, maize and soybean, were created using this technology, and at present the traits introduced are herbicide and/or pest tolerance. In 2007 these GE crops were planted in developed and developing countries on more than 280 million acres (113 million hectares) worldwide, representing nearly 10% of rainfed cropland. Although the United States leads the world in acres planted with GE crops, the majority of this planting is on large acreage farms. In developing countries, adopters are mostly small and resource-poor farmers. For farmers and many consumers worldwide, planting and eating GE crops and products made from them are acceptable and even welcomed; for others GE crops raise food and environmental safety questions, as well as economic and social issues. In Part I of this review, some general and food issues related to GE crops and foods were discussed. In Part II, issues related to certain environmental and socioeconomic aspects of GE crops and foods are addressed, with responses linked to the scientific literature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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