Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture
genetically modified organisms
) in agriculture have been available for only 10
years, their commercial use has expanded rapidly.
Recent estimates are that more than 60 - 70
percent of food products on store shelves may contain at least a small quantity of crops produced with
these new techniques.
Crops, and food produced from these crops, may be genetically engineered
for number of reasons, most commonly for resistance to pesticides, viruses, and insects, as well as
increasing the product’s shelf life.
The following genetically engineered crops have been approved for
sale in the United States, but not all of them are on the market
- In 2006, 89% of all soybeans grown in the USA were transgenic
- In 2006, 83% of all cotton grown in the USA was transgenic
- In 2006, 61% of all corn grown in the USA was transgenic
- In 2005, 80% of all canola grown in the Canada was transgenic
– In 2004, 50% of all papaya grown in Hawaii was the “Rainbow” variety
As of 2006, the following transgenic crops have been granted “Nonregulated Status” by the Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Some crops are on the market in minor quantities while others have been withdrawn for various
Currently, field tests are being conducted on a number of different genetically engineered crops
including apple, avocado, banana, blueberry, carrot, cranberry, grape, grapefruit, eggplant, lettuce,
onion, pea, pepper, pineapple, plum, strawberry, sweet potato, and watermelon.