She Blinded Me With Science: What We’re Reading, May 2017

Each month, GMO Answers compiles a few stories we think particularly noteworthy. Science is everywhere, and that was especially true in the stories that caught our eye this past April. So go with the flow, lose control, feel the power, fight your resistance, be a catalyst, start a reaction, keep an ion the ball, and join us in finding out the latest in the world of science and GMOs in this month’s What We’re Reading post:

To learn more about the science of GMOs, agriculture, and plants, please visit the GMO Answers website.

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Convention Programming to Feature “One Health” Concept

Bio-based Technologies Address Human, Animal, Plant and Environmental Health

At its heart, the concept of One Health is rooted in the notion that the health of humans, animals, and the environment are all interconnected. At BIO’s 2017 International Convention (June 19-22 in San Diego), programming will feature the One Health concept through stories that show how science and technology are making tomorrow’s breakthroughs possible.

On Monday, June 19, BIO will host “One Health Day,” bringing together different parts of the BIO family with sessions focused on issues linking human, animal and environmental health. Scheduled speakers include:

Keynote:  One Health for the 21st Century

  • Dr. William Karesh, Executive Vice President for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance

“The very concept of ‘One Health’ is ancient,” says Dr. William Karesh, Executive Vice President for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance. “But our world has changed dramatically, and what’s really exciting is that with 21st Century innovation we have the opportunity to begin to end the pandemic era.”

Human, Animal and Plant Health Connectedness – Industry’s Role:

  • Dr. Carsten Brunn, Bayer’s Head of Pharmaceuticals, Americas Region
  • Frank Terhorst, Bayer’s Global Head of Seeds

“With emerging issues like a rapidly aging population and new and increasingly complex medical needs, our industry is at the forefront of advancements in science and technology that will help cure and prevent some of the most difficult-to-treat conditions, and improve lives,” said Dr. Carsten Brunn, Bayer’s Head of Pharmaceuticals, Americas Region. “With Bayer’s focus across the life science ecosystem, we are actively working to discover and develop innovations that impact the health of people, animals, and plants.”

“As the world’s population is projected to increase by more than three billion people in the next thirty years, we will require an adequate supply of healthy food as well as improved medical care,” stated Frank Terhorst, global head of seeds at Bayer CropScience. “Our research and development activities, fundamental to the well-being of society, are therefore linked by the concept of ‘One Health,’ with the goal of finding solutions to some of the major challenges of our time.”

Panel Discussion:  How to Move “One Health” Forward

  • Dr. Eddie Sullivan, CEO, SAB Biotherapeutics and Chairman, BIO Food & Ag Section Governing Board (moderator)
  • Dr. Laura Kahn, Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University and Co-Founder, One Health Initiative
  • Dr. Nikos Gurfield, Adjunct Professor of Pathology, UC San Diego and County Veterinarian, San Diego County Vector Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Dr. William Karesh, Executive Vice President for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance

“Science and technology hold the promise of securing a healthier world for humans, animals and the environment,” says Dr. Eddie Sullivan, CEO, SAB Biotherapeutics and Chairman, BIO Food & Ag Section Governing Board. “To make these breakthroughs a reality, we’ll need a collaborative approach for addressing existing political and economic obstacles and opportunities.”

In our speaker presentations and panel discussions, attendees will hear stories that illustrate the concept of “One Health” and how modern technologies are enabling us to solve global challenges through a collaborative One Health-focused approach. Panelists will also explore the barriers to success and what industry and others can do to solve the problems One Health is poised to address.

BIO 2017 International Convention (BIO 2017) is in San Diego June 19-22 and registration is now open! Check out the complete BIO 2017 program including Keynotes, Super Sessions, Educational Tracks and Fireside Chats with scientific experts, government leaders and leading biotech CEOs. And stay tuned for more updates as we approach BIO 2017!

Filed under: Food And Agriculture, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our World’s Farmers Favor Biotech Crops

Millions of farmers around the world continue to choose genetically modified (GM) crop varieties because of their environmental and socio-economic benefits and the important role they play in addressing food security, according to a study released today.

The report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2016, produced annually by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), says 18 million farmers in 26 countries grew biotech crops on 185.1 million hectares (457 million acres) in 2016.

“The United Nations warns that our food supply must double by 2050 to meet the world’s expected population growth to 9 billion people,” said BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood in a statement. “GM crops produce bigger yields on less land and help farmers and growers mitigate the environmental challenges of climate change.”

The report shows a 110-fold increase in adoption rate of GM globally in just 21 years of commercialization, proving biotechnology to be the fastest adopted crop technology in the world.  Adoption has grown from 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres) in 1996 to 185.1 million hectares (457 million acres) in 2016.

“Biotechnology also provides societal benefits to the 18 million farmers who plant GMO crops – especially to the 90 percent who farm in developing countries,” said Greenwood. “The report shows how biotechnology has helped alleviate hunger by increasing incomes for small farmers and their families, bringing improved financial stability to more than 65 million people.”

Quantifying the environmental benefits of biotechnology, the ISAAA report explains how the adoption of biotech crops has reduced CO2 emissions equal to removing approximately 12 million cars from the road annually; conserved biodiversity by removing 19.4 million hectares of land from agriculture production in 2015; and decreased the environmental impact with a 19 percent reduction in herbicide and insecticide use.

Among the report’s additional highlights:

  • In 2016, 26 countries in total, including 19 developing and 7 industrial countries, grew biotech crops. Developing countries grew 54 percent of biotech crops, compared to 46 percent for industrial nations. 
  • In 2016, the leading countries growing biotech crops continued to be represented by the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India. Combined, these five countries planted 91 percent of the global biotech crop area. 
  • Eight countries in Asia and the Pacific, including China and India, grew 18.6 million hectare of biotech crops in 2016; 7.2 million farmers in India grow biotech cotton.
  • Four countries in Europe (Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia) grew more than 136,000 hectares of biotech maize in 2016, an increase of 17 percent from 2015, reflecting EU’s need for insect resistant maize.
  • Biotech crops have generated $167.8 billion in farm income gains since 1996.
  • Newly commercialized biotech crops and traits – such as non-bruising and non-browning apples and potatoes – directly benefit consumers.

 

*The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2016 and accompanying materials are posted at www.isaaa.org.

6 Ways GMOs Make Agriculture More Environmentally Friendly

Last week, to celebrate National Ag Day, GMO Answers posted a column to its Medium.com blog explaining how GMOs help to make agriculture more environmentally friendly. Contrary to common myths, GMOs and the sustainable farming practices often used with them, significantly help to reduce our environmental footprint and preserve our natural resources. Today, through advances in crop biotechnology, GMOs like drought-tolerant corn can help farmers minimize losses associated with extreme weather events. Thanks to biotech advancements, GM apples have been approved for consumption, which are non-browning, eliminating the superficial issues that often cause people to throw them away. We also have GM potatoes that are less prone to browning, bruising and black spots, meaning fewer will end up in landfills.

While biotechnology is already helping to address major challenges across the world, like crops threatened by drought and diseases, here are six additional ways biotechnology is helping to make farming and agriculture even more sustainable:

  1. Growing more while using less
  2. Enhancing biodiversity
  3. Improving soil health
  4. Conserving our water
  5. Helping to mitigate nutrient pollution
  6. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions

Crop biotechnology and GMOs have significantly contributed to mitigating the environmental effects of agriculture while preserving our natural resources. They are one solution to combating climate change and addressing the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

To read the entire post, please visit the GMO Answers Medium.com page.

#AgDay 2017: Appreciating the Value of Biotech

Today is National Ag Day, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture! National Ag Day falls during National Ag Week, March 19-25, 2017!

Agriculture plays a large role in our everyday lives. It provides food, clothing, and shelter as well as jobs. In fact, in 2014, 17.3 million full- and part-time jobs were related to agriculture – that’s around 10% of total U.S. employment!

Unfortunately, few truly understand its contribution to our lives and the economy.  Even fewer understand the contribution of agriculture biotechnology. Did you know that the annual global hectarage of biotech crops was 179.7 million hectares in 2015 and continues to grow? They are the fastest adopted crop technology in modern history, especially among farmers in developing countries.

Genetic modification (GM) technology has had a significant positive impact on farm income. Since 1996, farm incomes have increased by $150.3 billion.

Farmers select GMOs to reduce yield loss or crop damage from weeds, diseases, and insects, as well as from extreme weather conditions, such as drought.

GM technology adoption has also reduced chemical pesticide use by 37% and significantly reduce tillage.

In 2014, biotech crops removed 22.4 billion kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which is equal to removing 10 million cars from the road for one year.

To learn more about the value of agriculture and biotech crops, visit these resources: