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Agricultural GMOs—What We Know and Where Scientists Disagree

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1514;
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 21 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture: The State of the Great Debates)
PDF [278 KB, uploaded 10 May 2018]


Population growth, climate change, and increasing human impact on land and aquatic systems all pose significant challenges for current agricultural practices. Genetic engineering is a tool to speed up breeding for new varieties, which can help farmers and agricultural systems adapt to rapidly changing physical growing conditions, technology, and global markets. We review the current scientific literature and present the potential of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from the perspectives of various stakeholders. GMOs increase yields, lower costs, and reduce the land and environmental footprint of agriculture. The benefits of this technology are shared among innovators, farmers, and consumers. Developing countries and poor farmers gain substantially from GMOs. Agricultural biotechnology is diverse, with many applications having different potential impacts. Its regulation needs to balance benefits and risks for each application. Excessive precaution prevents significant benefits. Increasing access to the technology and avoidance of excessive regulation will allow it to reach its potential. View Full-Text
Keywords: genetic engineering; biotechnology; intellectual property; sustainability; climate change genetic engineering; biotechnology; intellectual property; sustainability; climate change
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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Zilberman, D.; Holland, T.G.; Trilnick, I. Agricultural GMOs—What We Know and Where Scientists Disagree. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1514.

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