News 168 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Study finds no significant impact of GM crops

In a large literature study by Swiss Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station (ART), covering ten years of research, the conclusion was made that GM crops are at least similarly safe for the environment.

Analyses of Bt crops found no significant impact on insects, birds, and soil microflora. According to the study, neither laboratory nor field research showed that the Bt toxin could damage non-target organisms. Although individual population shifts in soil bacteria were recorded, these shifts remained most likely within the normal limits for different crop varieties. For herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, ART concluded that gene flow is unlikely - and that HT crops hardly can survive outside cultivated fields. Appearances of herbicide-tolerant, wild relatives have been registered only in areas where one complementary herbicide was used exclusively, causing immense pressure on wild plant populations. In regions where at least both complementary herbicides (glufosinate and glyphosate) were applied, farmers had no trouble with herbicide-tolerant weeds.

Large-scale field studies
The literature study was ordered by the Swiss Expert Committee for Biosafety (SECB). Many results were taken from large-scale field studies, since the major GM-producing countries have no monitoring requirements and few results from commercial cultivations were available.

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