QDo GMOs contaminate the soil?

Do GMOs contaminate the soil?

AExpert Answer

The short answer is no―there is no impact of GM crops on soil. More specifically, this can be viewed from three perspectives:

 

1. The genetically modified crops themselves break down in exactly the same manner as non-GM crops. The genetic composition is organic in nature and is quickly broken down by the soil microbial community. The genes themselves are no different than the genes for flowering characteristics, seed production or chorophyll synthesis; they are simply DNA and all of the constituents associated with the composition of the plant.

 

2. In the case of tolerance to pesticides, the pesticide residues in soil follow the same pathway of degradation and dissipation as any other application does. In many instances, the pesticides associated with GMOs have a much safer environmental profile, and shorter persistence characteristics, than other pesticides, so a favorable environmental profile is associated with GMOs.

 

3. Crops that contain the genetics for producing the Bt endotoxin, which is used for controlling many insects, do release the Bt endotoxin into the soil. However, Bt endotoxin has been widely studied and shown to be quite safe, and short-lived in the soil environment. In fact, since it is naturally produced by a microorganism, Bt endotoxin is considered an organic pesticide and approved for use in organic farming. The Bt endotoxin is broken down very quickly in the soil, regardless of whether it is applied via conventional application methods or through the GM crop.

Posted on March 9, 2018
Hello, and thank you for your question! Scientists commonly use genetically engineering (GE) to add and subtract genes from ALL sorts of plants, from common weeds to potatoes from the Andes. Most GE is performed only to learn how plants work. While it’s relatively simple to change a plant’s genetics, it’s difficult and expensive to actually improve a plant’s genetics. Thus, only the most “important” crops are targets for GE. Smaller improvements are... Read More
Answer:
Posted on March 8, 2018
Hello, and thank you for your question! Scientists commonly use genetically engineering (GE) to add and subtract genes from ALL sorts of plants, from common weeds to potatoes from the Andes. Most GE is performed only to learn how plants work. While it’s relatively simple to change a plant’s genetics, it’s difficult and expensive to actually improve a plant’s genetics. Thus, only the most “important” crops are targets for GE. Smaller improvements are... Read More
Posted on March 9, 2018
Anyone who has traveled through the Southeast and seen kudzu vines along the highway knows that plants can evolve into a negative outcome. There is a similar concern that a GMO can produce negative outcomes in the environment.  Therefore, prior to approving their commercial planting, GMOs must be tested in contained field trials to ensure that they do not behave in ways that could cause problems. To prevent negative outcomes, GMOs must not have the ability to cross with wild... Read More

Explore More Topics