Barriers and paths to market for genetically engineered crops
News Apr 19, 2010
Each year, billions of dollars are invested in efforts to improve crops through genetic engineering (GE). These activities have resulted in a surge of publications and patents on technologies and genes: a momentum in basic research that, unfortunately, is not sustained throughout the subsequent phases of product development. After more than two decades of intensive research, the market for transgenic crops is still dominated by applications of just a handful of methods and genes. This discrepancy between research and development reflects difficulties in understanding and overcoming seven main barriers-to-entry: (1) trait efficacy in the field, (2) critical product concepts, (3) freedom-to-operate, (4) industry support, (5) identity preservation and stewardship, (6) regulatory approval and (7) retail and consumer acceptance. In this review, I describe the various roadblocks to market for transgenic crops and also discuss methods and approaches on how to overcome these, especially in the United States.
Sugarcane yields have been static for decades owing to constraints on culm (aerial stem) development. By manipulating the activity of this gene in transgenic sugarcane lines developed in Australia, the researchers succeeded in substantially increasing culm volume and changing the allocation of carbon to structural and storage molecules.
The largest field-based study of genetically modified forest trees ever conducted has demonstrated that genetic engineering can prevent new seedlings from establishing. The “containment traits” engineered in the study are important because of societal concerns over the spread of genetically engineered beyond the boundaries of plantations.READ MORE