New report: ‘Failure to Yield,’ shows GM crops failed to significantly raise yield

April 25, 2009

This report by the Union of Concerned Scientists expert Doug Gurian-Sherman, a former biotech specialist with the US Environmental Protection Agency, shows that “despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase US crop yields.”

The report reviews the literature on yield for the primary GM food/feed crops, soybeans and maize. The report also evaluates the USDA field trial record for GM traits associated with yield over the past 20 years, and discusses the challenges ahead for more complex yield genes, such as transcription factors and signal transduction genes, now being considered by the industry.

The report finds that genetically engineered “soybeans have not increased yields, and GE corn has increased yield only marginally on a crop-wide basis.” “Overall, corn and soybean yields have risen substantially over the last 15 years, but largely not as a result of the GE traits. Most of the gains are due to traditional breeding or improvement of other agricultural practices.”

“If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields. Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down,” it concludes.

The report can be downloaded from:
http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.pdf

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