Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States

By Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo; Seth Wechsler et al. | Go to book overview

Genetically Engineered Crops in the
United States

Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo, Seth Wechsler,
Mike Livingston, and Lorraine Mitchell


Abstract

More than 15 years after their first successful commercial introduction in the United
States, genetically engineered (GE) seeds have been widely adopted by U.S. corn,
soybean, and cotton farmers. Still, some questions persist regarding the potential benefits
and risks of GE crops. The report finds that, although the pace of research and develop-
ment (measured by the number of USDA-approved field tests) peaked in 2002, other
measures show that biotech firms continue to develop new GE seed varieties at a rapid
pace. Also, U.S. farmers continue to adopt GE seeds at a robust rate, and seed varieties
with multiple (stacked) traits have increased at a very rapid rate. Insecticide use has
decreased with the adoption of insect-resistant crops, and herbicide-tolerant crops have
enabled the substitution of glyphosate for more toxic and persistent herbicides. However,
overreliance on glyphosate and a reduction in the diversity of weed management practices
have contributed to the evolution of glyphosate resistance in some weed species.

Keywords: Genetically engineered crops, agricultural biotechnology, seed industry,
research and development, adoption, crop yields, pesticide use, corn, soybeans, cotton


Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank ERS colleagues Paul Heisey, Marca Weinberg, and Utpal
Vasavada for their helpful comments provided on earlier drafts of this report. We
also thank Michael Schechtman, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Office of
Pest Management Policy; Neil Hoffman, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service; Mark Petry, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service; George Frisvold, University
of Arizona; and Corinne Alexander, Purdue University. We also thank Dale Simms for
editorial assistance and Cynthia A. Ray for graphics and layout, both ERS.

-i-

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Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents ii
  • Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States iii
  • Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States 1
  • From the Laboratory to the Field 3
  • Adoption of Ge Crops by U.S. Farmers 9
  • Pest Resistance Management and Ge Crops 29
  • Consumer Demand for Ge Products 34
  • Conclusion 41
  • References 42
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