The Future of Genetically Modified Crops

The Future of Genetically Modified Crops: Lessons from the Green Revolution

Felicia Wu
William P.Butz
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 114
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  • Book Info
    The Future of Genetically Modified Crops
    Book Description:

    The world is now on the cusp of a new agricultural revolution, the so-called Gene Revolution, in which genetically modified (GM) crops are tailored to address chronic agricultural problems in certain regions of the world. This monograph report investigates the circumstances and processes that can induce and sustain this new agricultural revolution. The authors compare the Green Revolution of the 20th century with the GM crop movement to assess the agricultural, technological, sociological, and political differences between the two movements.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4051-0
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. The RAND Corporation Quality Assurance Process
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxiv)
  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  9. Acronyms
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)
  10. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Agriculture is a very old form of human technology. By harnessing sunlight, soil nutrients, and water toward satisfying their wants and needs, human beings for much of their history have made more productive use of agriculture than they ever could have derived from hunting and gathering. Over the millennia, the interaction of agriculture with population growth and dispersion has been at the core of human cultural and economic progress.¹

    For as long as ten thousand years, humans have been purposefully choosing the genetic makeup of the crops they grow. Genetic selection for features such as faster growth, larger seeds, or...

  11. CHAPTER TWO The Green Revolution
    (pp. 11-38)

    Green Revolutionis the term used to describe the spread of new agricultural technologies that dramatically increased food production in the developing world beginning in the middle of the 20th century, the impact of which is still felt today. In the 1940s, to address the problem of impending famine from a growing imbalance between population and food supply, the Rockefeller Foundation provided funds for agricultural advances in developing nations and gathered together a team of dedicated researchers from various parts of the world. Other national and international institutions joined in this effort over the following decades.

    The crops that were...

  12. CHAPTER THREE The Gene Revolution: Genetically Modified Crops
    (pp. 39-64)

    Since the mid-1980s, research teams in biotechnology firms worldwide have been transplanting genes across species to produce engineered crops with pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, tolerance to drought and saline soils, and enhanced micronutrient content. These genetically modified crops were first commercialized on a wide scale in the early 1990s. Today, they make up anywhere from a quarter to three-quarters of the total acreage of select crops in the United States, Canada, Argentina, and China (James, 2003).

    This new technology comes at a time of great need for increased food production in certain regions of the world. In its heyday, the...

  13. CHAPTER FOUR Lessons for the Gene Revolution from the Green Revolution
    (pp. 65-76)

    Genetically modified crop technology has revolutionized agriculture in the United States, Canada, China, and Argentina. It exhibits the potential to have much wider impact, solving many of the current problems in agriculture worldwide. The types of GM crops that may become available in the future could boost crop yields while enhancing the nutritional value of staple foods and eliminating the need for inputs that could be harmful to the environment. While the environmental, health, and economic risks of GM crops should be carefully studied before full-scale adoption, the types of GM crops that are already available have thus far largely...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 77-84)