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  • Research on GM crops booms in China

While the fate of genetically modified (GM) crops remains contentious in many parts of the globe, the word in China is full speed ahead, according to a recent survey of its plant biotechnology research and investment.

China accounts for more than half the developing world’s expenditure on plant biotechnology, almost entirely funded by the government, say Jikun Huang and colleagues in the 25 January issue of Science.

Researchers in China are working on more than 50 species of plants and more than 120 functional genes, and the crops being studied — including rice, potatoes and peanuts — differ from many other countries.

Reduced pesticide use and increased production as a result of GM cotton growth in China “eliminates any doubt that GM crops can play a role in poor countries,” say the researchers.

Reference: Science 295, 674 (2002)

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