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Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8598-8620; doi:10.3390/su7078598

Social Impacts of GM Crops in Agriculture: A Systematic Literature Review

1
Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7012, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
2
Department of Environmental Strategies Research, KTH–Royal Institute of Technology, Drottning Kristinas vag 30 III, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7023, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden
4
Division of Philosophy, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Brinellvagen 32, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 11 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 2 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [104 KB, uploaded 2 July 2015]

Abstract

It has recently been argued that the fragmented knowledge on the social impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops is contributing to the polarised debate on the matter. This paper addresses this issue by systematically reviewing 99 peer-reviewed journal articles published since 2004 on the social impacts of GM crops in agriculture; summarising current knowledge, and identifying research gaps. Economic impact studies currently dominate the literature and mainly report that GM crops provide economic benefits for farmers. Other social impacts are less well studied, but present a more complex picture. Studies on access to and benefits of GM crops show that these vary significantly depending on the political and regulatory setting. Substantial evidence indicates that intellectual property rights (IPR) and the private industry’s dominance limit the access and utility of available GM crops to many farmers. Wellbeing is frequently discussed in the literature, but rarely investigated empirically. Existing evidence is contradictory and inconclusive. Impact studies from the Global North are virtually non-existent. Moreover, two-thirds of publications are based on previously published empirical evidence, indicating a need for new empirical investigations into the social impacts of GM crops in agriculture. View Full-Text
Keywords: social impact; Genetically Modified Organism (GMO); biotechnology; agriculture; farm; sustainability social impact; Genetically Modified Organism (GMO); biotechnology; agriculture; farm; sustainability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fischer, K.; Ekener-Petersen, E.; Rydhmer, L.; Björnberg, K.E. Social Impacts of GM Crops in Agriculture: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability 2015, 7, 8598-8620.

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