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GM Crops - There are a lot of them About!

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In the mid-1990s plant biotechnology burst onto the scene in world agriculture, beginning a second ‘green revolution’ and precipitating one of the great public debates of our time. In this lecture, genetically modified (GM) crops will be defined, establishing what distinguishes GM crops from other crops. The GM crops that are currently in commercial use and the impact that they have had on world agriculture will be described, contrasting the development and use of the technology in the Americas, Asia and Europe. The traits of herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, virus resistance, increased shelf life and modified oil profile will be covered in detail. The GM crops that are currently under development, from improved nutritional content, such as high vitamin A rice, to salt and drought tolerance will be discussed.

The issues of safety and regulation that have dogged the development of plant biotechnology, particularly in Europe, will be addressed, highlighting the difficulties that scientists face in participating in an emotive public debate.

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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