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GMOs and Ecological Impacts

Aerial spraying of genetically engineered soybean crop The introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has created an emotionally charged worldwide public discussion. The development of crops with newly injected DNA has spurred ethical, political, and social discussions as well as more a straightforward scientific debate.

Since 1996, 170 million worldwide acres have been converted to growing genetically modified organisms with little appreciation for the ecological impacts and risks arising from such a transformation. Plant ecologists, entomologists, and populations geneticists have approached the technology and its vast application with caution based on the following impacts:

Increased weediness from crop to wild relative genetic exchange
Creation of insect resistant pests
Impacts to non-target beneficial organisms
Gene exchange from crop to wild resulting in extinction of rare plants and weedy relatives

The ecological impacts resulting from the vast introduction of genetically modified transgenic organisms are perhaps the least completely understood though most consequential to our maintenance of plant genetic variability, ability to surmount crop blight, and ultimately to our continued health and well-being.
Studies & Reports

Deficiencies in Federal Regulatory Oversight of Genetically Engineered Crops
Genetic Pollution Threatens Trade, Health and the Environment
Gone to Seed: Transgenic Contaminants in the Traditional Seed Supply
Contamination from Gene-altered Crop Trials Poses Unappreciated Threats to Wildlife
Pesticide resistant Bt plants may pose risk to soil and environment
Cross pollination does occur:
Gene Flow
Dangerous Liaisons? When Cultivated Plants Mate with Their Wild Relatives
Gene Flow And Introgression Between Domesticated Crops And Their Wild Relatives
Seed varieties disappearing, Farmers find agricultural options limited
Crop Strength Through Diversity
Fate and Effects of the Insecticidal Toxins From Bacillus Thuringiensis
GMOs Affect Beneficial Organisms
Current knowledge of gene flow in plants: implications for transgene flow
Embedded in Nature: Human Health and Biodiversity

See also: GMO Articles & News

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