Crop Biotechnology for Weed and Insect Control
The control of weeds and pests is a major challenge to farmers and the rapid uptake of GM crop varieties with tolerance to herbicides and resistance to insect pests is testament to their effectiveness. There have been no negative effects on human or animal health and environmental outcomes of the widespread adoption of GM crops have also been largely positive. However, the build-up of resistance in weeds and target insects to the respective active compounds in the GM plants is clear. Although the vast majority of the previously cultivated GM crops possess only a narrow range of herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant traits, we are already seeing a wide range of new varieties possessing stacked genes as issues of resistance and traits for abiotic stressors and food quality become more significant. In addition, the use of new biotechnological breeding tools such as gene editing will make a step-change in crop breeding methodologies and reduce the time it takes to market a new product. However, this will be possible only if the regulatory landscape becomes proportionate, prompt and more globally unified.