Genetic modification (GM) has come a long way since it first came out with the first genetically engineered human insulin in 1982 and the first GM tomato sometime during 1994. Right now, not only is the technology used primarily in agriculture to create better food crops. Genetic modification and biotechnology in general are already being applied in other fields such as pharmaceuticals. But it is primarily on the food sector that genetic modification has so far been able to gain a substantial foothold.
The initial success of the first GM tomato was generally accepted as the future for the biotechnology sector where developments have been ongoing in trying to create better crops through genetic modification. The next GM crops to come along were those made from corn, cotton and soybeans. But then came some controversial findings that came up showing some of the GM crops that have been introduced in the market may not be as safe as was once was believed. It certainly put a negative effect into the minds of a number of people.
The United States is considered as the world’s largest producer of genetically modified food crops with cultivating over two thirds of the annual GM crop produced worldwide. Included in the list of GM crops grown in the US are corn, soybeans, squash, canola and papaya. Argentina is considered as the next biggest producer of GM crops which consist mostly of GM soybeans. Canada also has a substantial acreage being used to cultivate GM crops, primarily that of canola. Other notable countries involved in the cultivation of GM crops include China, Brazil and South Africa. There are also other countries in Europe and Asia who are also beginning to increase acreage use for GM crops.
The list of GM crop growing countries seems to show that the biggest producers come from the Americas. No European country comes out as a major GM crop producer in the list. The reason for this may stem from the fact that there is a growing concern over the fact that some GM crops may still require further testing and study before they are to be introduced into the agricultural market for widespread use. Along with a number of not so promising findings concerning the probable effects of selected GM crops (not only on humans but in the environment as well) may have only tightened the resolve of some European countries to tighten up and even ban the cultivation of Gm crops.
The scenario in the US and in Europe can be seen as of opposite poles. In the US, GM crops are being seen as an attractive and profitable industry that have continuously grown and expanded. More and more acreage have been allotted for growing GM plants although there are some areas in the nation that have increasingly been concerned about some negative findings that may have cropped up concerning such crops. In Europe on the other hand, GM crops are substantially rare since many of the countries have upheld strict regulations concerning GM crop cultivation or even outright banned it due to the negative perception on the said technology.