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Genetically modified crops don’t really work. That is the broad conclusion of a recent investigation in the New York Times.

The newspaper’s main claim is that there is little evidence of rising crop yields and falling pesticide use in North America, where GMOs are extensively used, compared to Europe, where cultivation of GM crops is very limited.

Genetic modification sharply divides its proponents, including biotechnology companies and many farmers and scientists, and its opponents, including environmental NGOs. For many on either side, it is a black and white issue. Depending on your point of view, GM deployment is either essential to feed the growing world population, or is a deadly threat to biodiversity and environmental sustainability.

Consequently, the New York Times investigation has either been seized on as a nail in the coffin of GM technology, or castigated as misinformed and misleading. The main complaint against it is that it is a rather superficial reading of a complex situation. Commentary from one biotechnologist in business publication Forbes labelled the report a “screwup” and a “hatchet-job”.

By Stephen Gardner. Read the article in full at Innovation Forum.

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