New Study Shows Genetically Modified Crops Produce Less
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While many studies have shown that GM foods pose serious health and contamination risks, a new study carried out for three years at the University of Kansas has shown that genetically modified crops also produce less food. This dispels the great corporate myth, perpetuated by the Department of Agriculture, that GM technology is necessary to solve world hunger.
Professor Barney Gordon, of the universityâ€™s department of agronomy, began the study when farmers who had switched over to the GM crop had noticed that even under optimal conditions their yields were not as high as expected. The yields of GM soybean were 10 percent less than those of an almost identical conventional variety grown in the same field.
The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available.
The Nebraska study suggested that two factors are at work. First, it takes time to modify a plant and, while this is being done, better conventional ones are being developed. This is acknowledged even by the fervently pro-GM US Department of Agriculture, which has admitted that the time lag could lead to a â€œdecreaseâ€ in yields.
But the fact that GM crops did worse than their near-identical non-GM counterparts suggest that a second factor is also at work, and that the very process of modification depresses productivity. The new Kansas study both confirms this and suggests how it is happening.
The Kansas study suggested that genetic modification hindered the soyaâ€™s ability to absorb manganese from the soil. However, even when additional manganese was added, the GM soya yield was only able to equal that of the conventional crop, failing to surpass it as promised.
Low yields have also been seen with other GM plants, such as cotton, where the total US crop declined as GM technology took over the industry. To counter the embarrassing results, Monsanto falsely claimed that the GM soybeans used in the study were not modified to increase yields, but said it was now developing one that would. Last week, the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development concluded that GM was not the answer to world hunger.