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Resources for Researchers is a database intended as a source for researchers, policymakers, students, and the public to become better informed of major recent analysis on global food security. Included are different perspectives provided through a range of academic journals, government research, think tanks, popular press and opinion pieces, and scholarly reviews. This information has been collected from open sources and includes works that have been produced within the last decade. We have noted gated articles. We will regularly update the database as new works are published. Other topics will be added in the future, such as climate change and forestry. This is a collaborative project. If you think we’ve missed a major piece of work, please let us know.
Genetically engineered (GE) entities are plants and animals that are selectively bred and enhanced with strengthening genes to withstand common problems that confront the agriculture and farming industries. These include strains of wheat that are more resistant to drought, maize that can survive pesticides, and cassava that is resilient to disease. In addition to resistance-based attributes, some GM crops can produce higher yields from the same planted area. GM crops have the potential to strengthen farming and food security by granting more certainty against the unpredictable factors of nature. These resistances and higher yields hold great promise for the developing world and for global food security. Yet, controversy remains over access to this biotechnology, corporation patents on certain plant strains, and the safety and quality of GM foods as compared to organic foods.
Explore the different Genetic Engineering categories below:
Beginners’ Guide to GE
Policy and Biosafety Regulation
Trade and Economics
GE: Behind the Science
Resources + Organizations to Follow
Beginners’ Guide to GE
Jiwon Jun, CSIS Blog, April 2014
Through this interactive graphpic, Jun unpacks the various terms and definitions in the biotechnology discussion.
Cornell University; 2004
6 short briefs examine how agricultural biotechnology is used, the goals of GE crops, the expanding GE market, and the importance of biosafety regulations.
World Health Organization (WHO)
20 common questions ranging from safety of GE foods and international trade to public and political concerns.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Another look at the common GE questions and USDA stance/research on GE crops
Policy and Biosafety Regulation
Jose Falck-Zepeda, Guillaume Gruere, and Idah Sithole-Niang; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); October 2013
The authors of this book put together studies on GE crops’ economic effects and impacts on trade, consumers views, and biosafety regulations.
Daniela Horna, Patricia Zambrano, and Jose Falck-Zepeda; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); September 2013
Guidelines on how to ensure socioeconomic considerations are recognized in an efficient biosafety decisionmaking process.
Regina Birner and Nicholas Linacre; International Food Research Institute (IFPRI); February 2008
A conceptual framework for the assessment of regional systems of biotechnology regulations.
William Y. Brown; Brookings Institute; July 2011
This opinion piece argues that a new effective and comprehensive U.S. federal legislation is needed to not only ensure the use of GE organisms are safe, but also to make sure GE organisms are available to address global food security.
Gregory Jaffe; International Food Research Institute (IFPRI); 2008
This brief identifies issues that should be addressed in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Joel Winston; SciDevNet; November 2013
A centralized approach to assess risk across Africa could strengthen the continent’s food security, but a single body could also undermine individual countries’ policies.
Trade and Economics
Antoine Bouet, Guillaume Gruere, and Laetitia Leroy; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); July 2011
The paper examines specifically the global economic implementations on trade diversion, prices, and welfare effects on GM maize and soybeans.
Guillaume Gruere and Debdatta Sengupta; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); 2009
Since South Africa is the only country in Africa that has produced GM crops, this paper examines successes and challenges of South Africa’s trading policies on GM products.
Katherine Linton and Mihir Torsekar; Brookings Institute; October 2009
This paper compares and contrasts how innovation in biotech seeds has occurred in China and India, looking specifically at market access, intellectual property, and regulatory processes.
John Komen and David Wafula; Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); May 2013
This study evaluates the barriers to the adoption of GM crops, such as barriers from neighboring countries, international markets, and other trade partners in Africa.
Carl Pray, David Gisselquist, and Latha Nagarajan; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); December 2011
This paper analyzes the amount of private R&D in Sub-Saharan Africa and recommends government policies and investments that encourage private sector involvement.
Tom Polansek; Reuters; March 2014
Syngenta will require U.S. farmers growing a GM corn to pledge in writing not to ship crop to China and the EU where the new GM crop is not yet approved.
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO); March 2014
New survey found 25 countries blocked imports after finding traces of GE crops in 2013, which led to trade disruptions between countries. This raises the need for better detection and processing procedures and for international trade standards with GE crops. GE crops are definitely the worst of the bunch.
GE Safety Assessment
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); July 2013
The platform was created to share information about the safety assessment of GM crops.
Jennifer Kuzma and Rachel Haase; University of Minnesota, Food Policy Research Center; October 2012
This briefing examines how GE foods are tested by U.S. agencies and what they are currently testing for.
Carl K. Winter and Lisa K. Gallegos; University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; 2006
A quick analysis of how GE food safety is assessed. It also concludes GE foods do not hold greater risks than foods produced through conventional methods, but there needs to be more regulatory practices in place.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); 2008
The FAO provides a training tool for countries to strengthen their capacity to assess the safety of foods derived by biotechnology.
GE: Behind the Science
Alessandro Nicolia, Alberto Manzo, Fabio Veronesi, and Daniele Rosellini; Critical Reviews in Biotechnology; September 2013
In a review of all scientific literature on GE crop safety in the last 10 years, the research did not detect any significant hazard directly connected to GE crops.
Snell Chelsea, Bernheim Aude, Berge Jean-Baptiste, Kuntz Marcel, Pascal Gerard, Paris Alain Agnes E. Ricroch; Food and Chemical Toxicology; December 2011
This review analyzed 24 studies on animals’ health from GM diet and found that all the studies do not suggest any health hazards and that GM plants are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts.
Nicole Miller; University of Wisconsin-Madison; February 2013
UW-Madison study found that yields of GM corn vary a lot compared to conventional crops, but GM crops reduce production risk, which gives farmers more certainty about the yield levels they can expect that season.
Nigel G. Halford; Food and Energy Security; June 2012
This gives an in-depth look at the science behind biotechnology and also touches on the GMO debate and its implications globally.
Andrew Pollack; New York Times; January 2014
Scientists are researching to see if pests can be eliminated without harming beneficial insects.
Carey Gillam; Reuters; February 2014
The USDA study found that GM herbicide-tolerant seeds have not shown definitive increase in crop yields while pest and insecticide tolerant seeds saw more yield potential.
Brian Owens; Nature; March 2014
New study finds that western corn rootworm developed resistance to 2 out of 3 types of Bt toxins produced in GM maize. The authors emphasized the need for a more integrated pest management policy to slow down resistance.
Jayson Lusk and Henry I. Miller; New York Times; February 2014
Genetically modified wheat is not grown commercially in the U.S. This opinion piece argues why GM wheat is important for the future.
Seralini GMO Study 2012
Gilles-Eric Seralini, Emilie Clair, Robin Mesnage, Steeve Gress, Nicolas Defarge, Manuela Malatesta, Didier Hennequin, and Joel Spiroux de Vendomois; Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal; August 2012
The original published study by Gilles-Eric Seralini claiming that rats given GM maize developed severe diseases.
Not long after the study was published, scientists from around the world asserted that the study was not scientifically supported.
- Seralini et. al Study Conclusions Not Supported by Data, says EU Risk Assessment Community
- European Food Safety Authority (EFSA); November 2012
- Hyped GM Maize Study Faces Growing Scrutiny
- Declan Butler; Nature; October 2012
- Letters to the Editors of Food and Chemical Toxicology
- Answers to Critics: Why There is a Long Term Toxicity due to Roundup-tolerant Genetically Modified Maize and to Roundup Herbicide
- Gilles-Eric Seralini, Emilie Clair, Robin Mesnage, Steeve Gress, Nicolas Defarge, Manuela Malatesta, Didier Hennequin, and Joel Spiroux de Vendomois; Food and Chemical Toxicology; 2012
- Authors Gilles-Eric Seralini et al. answer to criticisms about his study
Elsevier; November 2013
The journal announced more than a year later that they have retracted the Seralini et. al study from its journal.
William K. Hallman, Cara L. Cuite, and Xenia K. Morin; Rutgers University; November 2013
The internet survey found that while majority of Americans want a required GE label, more than half (54%) say they know very little or nothing about GE foods and current regulation.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); October 2012
AAAS states that labeling could “mislead and falsely alarm consumers.”
Dan D’Ambrosio; USA Today; June 2013
This article looks at why GM labeling misleads consumers at a time when more states are discussing a required labeling law.
Nathanael Johnson; Grist; November 2013
This article examines why Washington lost the GMO labeling law and Nathanael Johnson provides suggestions to labeling advocates on what they can do better next time.
Jenny Hopkinson and Helena Bottemiller Evich; Politico; January 2014
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, representing large food and beverage leaders, supports a new law with voluntary federal on GMO labeling, stating a national solution for GMO labeling is more efficient than each state’s potentially different labeling laws. Food activists state this is a power grab by the industry.
Scott Faber; Huffington Post; February 2014
Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group argues that the proposed voluntary GE labeling will not solve the GMO debate and the consumers’ right to know.
Robert Fraley; Delta Farm Press; November 2013
Dr. Robert Fraley, Monsanto’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, argues companies need to communicate better with consumers, food, and environmental groups about GMO crops.
Stephanie Strom; New York Times; March 2013
Whole Foods announced in March that it would require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores.
Adam Russell; Friends of the Earth; March 2014
Two largest grocery store chains in the U.S. announced it would not sell GMO salmon. They are among more than 60 retailers that have committed to not sell GM salmon.
Dale Buss; Forbes; February 2014
The author argues General Mill’s GMO-free Cheerios announcement did very little to change their sales.
Sangeeta Bansal and Bharat Ramaswami; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); May 2007
This paper analyzes whether mandatory GM labeling differs from voluntary labeling and explores the special set of circumstances, particularly in India.
Guillaume P. Gruere; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); 2007
This brief summarizes a comprehensive review of international labeling policies for genetically modified food and uses it to draw lessons for policymakers in developing countries that are considering the possibility of adopting a labeling policy for GM food.
Union of Concerned Scientists; November 2012
UCS does understand GE could have potential benefits, but to this date, UCS believes GE has fallen short of expectation and, in some cases, caused serious problems. Read their articles to get an understanding why they are critics of commercial application and current regulation.
Aaron Bernstein; Harvard University, School of Public Health
Center for Health and the Global Environment; January 2008
This article takes a quick look at potential human health effects from the adoption of GE crops.
David M. Kaplan; Polytechnic University; 2004
The author suggests that instead of arguing over the potential human health risks, which have been proven thus far to be untrue, the stronger argument against GE foods should be on the biotech industries use of IP laws and international trade regulations to patent GMOs.
Food and Water Watch; September 2011
The Food and Water Watch argues that GE crops create uncertainties and risks that should be carefully measured, but the current regulatory guidelines do not promote such policies. Read about what they recommend the U.S. government should do to ensure potential risks are minimal.
Maria Konnikova; New Yorker; August 2013
Article discusses how humans shape their opinions and perspectives on GMOs depending on how natural or unnatural it is, and how this psychology can have negative effects on technology dissemination.
Jonathan D.G. Jones; The Royal Society; April 2011
In this speech, Jones argues that every agricultural tool, including GE and sustainable methods, must be used if we hope to ensure adequate food productivity in the future. He also exclaims the EU should reconsider its ideology on GE.
Marjorie Olster; Huffington Post; August 2013
This post examines the sharp disagreement between the United States and the European Union on genetically modified foods.
Hilary Heuler; Voice of America (VOA); September 2013
VOA reports on the debate on the development and distribution of GMO bananas resistant to devastating diseases to the crop.
Stephen Castle; New York Times; February 2014
The EU is on the verge of approving a GM insect-resistant corn, which would make it the third GM crop approved in the EU.
Robert Paarlberg; September 2009
In this book, Dr. Paarlberg explains how current opposition to agricultural technology have hurt farmers in Africa and kept them from lifting themselves out of poverty.
Amy Harmon; New York Times; July 2013
Amy Harmon follows the journey of an orange farmer and how the GMO debate and a GE orange affects his thoughts and decisions to sell GE orange juice.
Finnigan Wa Simbeye; Tanzania Daily News; February 2014
Tanzanian scientists are confident a policy clause, which holds them and their partner companies liable for any negative effect on GMOs, will be changed by the end of the year. This will allow scientists to conduct GM field trials.
Johanna Nesseth Tuttle and Kristin Wedding; Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); October 2013
This research focuses on the GMO debate in Eastern Africa and asks the question if/how GE crops can help improve food security for smallholder farmers.
Niu Shuping and David Stanway; Reuters; March 2014
A member of the parliamentary board stated Chinese research funding for GMOs fell 80% in the past 4 years, partially due to the GMO debate within leadership.
Business Inquirer; October 2013
One of Philippine’s leading scientist-educators publicly announced his support for GM technology and said it’s crucial to support scientists in the face of organized opposition.
Nathanael Johnson; Grist; December 2013
This article provides examples and asks the question “Is there evidence that groups fighting against GMOs have thwarted good technologies that would otherwise make agriculture more sustainable?”
Marc Gunther; Guardian; February 2014
New survey by International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) found that the planting of biotech crops increased 3% last year.
Amy Harmon; New York Times; January 2014
Amy Harmon follows the journey of one Hawaii councilmen trying to understand GMOs on the GM-ban vote.
Michael Winerip; New York Times; June 2013
This 10-minute video looks at a time when a biotech company voluntarily labeled a GM tomato and majority of consumers did not find GMOs concerning; very different from today.
Mark Lynas; January 2013
In a speech to the Oxford Farming Conference, he publicly apologized for starting the anti-GMO movement and has now become a supporter of GMO. Read his reasons in this speech.
Resources + Organizations to Follow
Nathanael Johnson; Grist; 2013
Journalist Nathanael Johnson takes a look at the GMO debate to better understand the arguments from both sides of this polarized debate. This 26-part series examines everything from environmental risks and political influence to safety and labeling.
The Council of Biotechnology Information
This website provides a chance for consumers to ask agri-business experts, academics, farmers, doctors, scientists, and other high-level experts questions about GMOs.
Publications Page; Iowa State University
A website of the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP)’s publication, includes environmental risk assessment of GE crops, regulatory expectations, and GE biofeedstock crops.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); 2012
One of the many conferences of FAO’s Biotechnology Forum, this guideline provides brief background information about currently commercialized GM crops. The Biotechnology Forum hosts e-mail conferences and provides a place for people to discuss openly about their experiences and views on agricultural biotechnology in developing countries.
We provided many papers from IFPRI in this document, but we would like for the readers to note that there are many more studies done by IFPRI on GM crops, ranging from economic effects to surveys on people’s perspective of the GM debate.