Today’s biotechnology is simply a better and more efficient version of the plant breeding that humans have conducted for centuries, according to agricultural expert Dr. Robert Thompson of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
“During the twentieth century, we made huge genetic progress increasing productivity of plants in increasing their tolerance to adverse conditions,” Thompson said in an interview with Green State TV. But we’ve gone about as far as we can go with classical plant breeding,” which he said is simply “crossing two species to bring a trait from one species to another.”
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Scientist says ag biotech is necessary for food security
According to the science blog Tomorrow’s Table, ag technology is a solution for helping to reduce global poverty and enables farmers, especially in low-income countries, to produce more crops on less land.
Dr. Robert L. Thompson, senior fellow for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, points out, “Tools available today, including plant breeding and biotechnology, can make presently unusable soils productive and increase the genetic potential of individual crops - enhancing drought and stress tolerance, for example - while also producing gains in yields.” Read more.
Field trials of drought-resistant GM corn show yield increases in drier U.S. regions
Scientific American says GM corn with drought resistance could help the crop to thrive in low-water conditions. The article points out that the technology could be a solution for addressing the challenges of increasing global temperatures, which could impact food and fuel prices worldwide.
In field trials in some of the drier regions of the U.S., GM corn produced seven to 10 extra bushels per acre—a significant increase considering USDA estimates showing the average annual global corn crop losses due to “moderate drought” are 15 percent per year. Read more.