16 July 1999

GM yield often no better

GENETICALLY modified crops do not necessarily produce better yields, acccording to research by the US Department of Agriculture.

The USDA study, reported in New Scientist magazine, analysed commercial crop results for 1997 and 1998 in regions where traditional and GM varieties of cotton, maize and soya were being grown.

The study found that in two-thirds of the regions, yields of modified crops were no better than conventional crops. And in over half of the study sites, pesticide use was almost identical.

The article quoted USDA officials who admitted that, at face value, the figures did not provide much support for those who argued that genetic engineering would bring about a revolution in agriculture. &#42