The introduction of the first transgenic plant 30 years ago heralded the start of a second green revolution, providing food to the starving, profits to farmers and environmental benefits to boot. Many GM crops fulfilled the promise. But their success has been mired in controversy with many questioning their safety, their profitability and their green credentials. A polarized debate has left little room for consensus. In this special issue, Nature explores the hopes, the fears, the reality and the future.
Image credit: Kelly Krause/Nature (photo: Nagy-Bagoly Arpad/Shutterstock)
EDITORIALFields of gold
Research on transgenic crops must be done outside industry if it is to fulfil its early promise.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )NEWSTransgenic salmon nears approval
Slow US regulatory process highlights hurdles of getting engineered food animals to dinner tables.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )NEWS FEATURESGM crops: A story in numbers
Genetically modified crops have gained ground on their conventional counterparts, but the vast majority are grown in five countries, featuring four crops and two principal traits.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )Case studies: A hard look at GM crops
Superweeds? Suicides? Stealthy genes? The true, the false and the still unknown about transgenic crops.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )Transgenic crops: A new breed
The next wave of genetically modified crops is making its way to market — and might just ease concerns over 'Frankenfoods'.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )COMMENTARIESAfrica and Asia need a rational debate on GM crops
Policy-makers in developing countries should not be swayed by the politicized arguments dominant in Europe, say Christopher J.M. Whitty and colleagues.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )An experiment for the world
China’s scientists are using a variety of approaches to boost crop yields and limit environmental damage, say Fusuo Zhang, Xinping Chen and Peter Vitousek.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )CORRESPONDENCEBiotechnology: Thirty years of transgenic plants
To overcome today’s huge agricultural hurdles we should move to a model that combines the best features of transgenic technology with those of organic and conventional farming.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )PERSPECTIVEUsing membrane transporters to improve crops for sustainable food production
This Perspective discusses the emerging advances in plant membrane transporters, which can be used to improve crop yields, nutritional value, and environmental stress resistance.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )NATURE PODCASTNature Podcast: GM crops
Case studies reveal if genes really escape from the fields where GM crops are grown, and if their use really leads to a drop in pesticide use.
Nature ( 02 May 2013 )ARCHIVESeed-patent case in Supreme Court
Loss of patent control could rekindle ‘terminator’ technology.
Nature ( 19 February 2013 )Food: Inside the hothouses of industry
Feeding the world is going to require the scientific and financial muscle of agricultural biotechnology companies. Natasha Gilbert asks whether they're up to the task.
Nature ( 28 July 2010 )A new dawn for transgenic crops in Europe?
Approval of the Amflora potato could signal a fresh approach to genetically modified organisms.
Nature ( 09 March 2010 )GM crops: Battlefield
Papers suggesting that biotech crops might harm the environment attract a hail of abuse from other scientists. Emily Waltz asks if the critics fight fair.
Nature ( 02 September 2009 )