Drought- and salt-tolerant GM crops

Claims that GM crops are needed to feed the world rest on repeated claims that drought-tolerant and salt-tolerant GM crops will be developed. However, these are complex traits that depend on many complex interactions between a plant and its environment, they are not controlled by just a single gene.

Monsanto's rivals DuPont and Syngenta both announced new drought tolerant maize (corn) varieties in 2011. Both varieties were conventionally bred and did not use genetic engineering. Indigenous non-GM drought-tolerant crop varieties are also readily available.

Although Monsanto has a drought-tolerant GM maize under development, a draft report from the US Department of Agriculture in 2011 highlighted that it did not perform any better than conventional varieties.

Salt-tolerant GM crops were first promised over thirty years ago by the US Office of Technology Assessment in its 1981 report. No salt-tolerant GM crops are in the pipeline. Conventionally-bred salt-tolerant crops have been produced using far less money.


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