This scientific article provides an insight into the status of public research in genetically modified (GM) crops in Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe in 2004.

The authors document 54 transgenic 'events' — specific instances of genetic transformation — across the four countries. They identify work to develop GM strains for 20 crops, including cotton, maize, potatoes, sugar cane, tomatoes and wheat. South Africa is shown to be a particularly important centre for biotech research, accounting for 28 out of the 54 events examined.

The authors call for a simplified system to facilitate regulatory approval of GM crop trials and commercial releases across the continent as a whole and suggest measures to encourage inter-institutional links and South–South collaborations.