Genetically-modified crops, also known as GM crops, are plants used in agriculture which have been modified by using genetic engineering methods. The genetic modifications are done in order to create crop varieties with desirable traits, such as tolerance against herbicides and specific pests.
During the last decade, the acreage of GM crop production has more than doubled globally. In 2015, nearly 180 million hectares were planted with genetically-engineered crops worldwide. By country comparison, the United States had the highest acreage of GM crops. Genetically-engineered crops have become wildly popular in the United States since agrochemical company Monsanto has introduced their ‘Roundup Ready’ soybeans in the mid-nineties. Today, soybeans remain the GM crop accounting for the largest proportion of GM crop acreage worldwide. One of the main reported benefits of adopting genetically engineered crops is increased crop yields.
A recent survey shows that consumers in the United States have mixed feelings on the use of GM organisms in food production. The results illustrated that 26 percent of U.S. adults seek to purchase non-genetically modified foods, while the remaining 74 percent do not seek non-genetically modified foods. Another recent survey reveals that 48 percent of U.S. adults strongly agree (and a further 41 percent agree) that all products containing GM organisms should be labeled accordingly.
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