Genetic research may offer alternatives to GM crops

2014-12-02 12:06

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Advances in understanding the genetic make-up of plants could ultimately help to produce more resilient, higher-yielding crops, the head of French seed company Limagrain said, with the potential to end the heated debate over genetic modification.

Distrust of crops produced using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has marginalised the technology in Europe, where politicians this month moved closer to giving countries the scope to ban such crops even when they have regulatory clearance.

GM crops, which now account for about half of a global seed market estimated at $40bn, have divided opinion between proponents who cite improved yields at a time of shrinking natural resources and opponents who point to environmental risks, food safety concerns and unfair terms for farmers.

However, Limagrain President Jean-Yves Foucault says the controversy clouds the potential of plant gene research to bring improved results by traditional methods.

"If you get an intimate understanding of a plant, you may get answers via traditional selection without using GMOs", Foucault told Reuters. "GMOs are an important question but one that shouldn't be dramatised."

Farmers cooperative Limagrain, the world's fourth-largest seed maker by sales through its listed subsidiary Vilmorin, sells genetically modified seed types on the American continent and is developing its own GMO maize as it competes with larger rivals such as Monsanto.

But the company still generates nearly two thirds of its overall sales in Europe, where use of GM crops is minimal, and last year achieved record sales of maize seed in its home continent.

Researchers have mapped the genome, or complete genetic material, of several crops and are working on deciphering that of wheat, the world's most widely grown crop and one that has a particularly complex genetic make-up.

Limagrain's Vilmorin, like its peers, is working on GMO wheat as part of the push to boost yields, but has cautioned that a commercial launch is unlikely this decade.

Read more on:    france  |  research  |  plants

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.