Top 10 Studies You Should Have Read in 2017 (but might have missed)
January 15, 2018
As we kick off 2018, we want to make sure that you’re equipped with the most up to date information on plant science in sustainable agriculture. So we have created a list of the most influential studies published over the last 12 months. Take a look to make sure you didn’t miss any!
Annual Update on Status of Biotech Crops Around the World
Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2016, by James C
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) released its annual global biotech crop acreage report, which features data on the environmental and socio-economic benefits of plant biotech. ISAAA reported that the adoption of biotech crops has reduced CO2 emissions; conserved biodiversity by removing 19.4 million hectares of land from agriculture in 2015; and decreased the environmental impact of agriculture with a 19% reduction in herbicide and insecticide applications. Additionally, in developing countries, planting biotech crops has helped alleviate hunger by increasing the incomes for 18 million small farmers and their families, bringing improved financial stability to more than 65 million people.
United States Government Assesses Safety of Glyphosate
Draft Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments for Glyphosate, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency
The safety of the popular herbicide glyphosate was a hot topic in 2017. Many in the plant science industry feared that the politically-motivated calls to remove glyphosate from the market would set a worrying precedent for crop protection products globally. In December the US Environmental Protection Agency published draft risk assessments that concluded glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans, and when used correctly poses no other meaningful risks to human health. The assessments will be open for public comment for 60 days later this year.
Assessing the True Cost of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Human cost burden of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. A critical review, by Bond G, Dietrich D
German researchers carried out a review of recent studies on the economic cost of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The review published in the Archives of Toxicology found “substantial flaws” in the methodology of these studies. They concluded that the assigned costs are “highly speculative” and recommended against their use in deciding regulation.
Overcoming Public Distrust in Science
Taking Distrust of Science Seriously, by Kabat G
As science and technology continue to evolve at extraordinary rates, understanding of technological progress hasn’t always been able to keep up, leading to confusion around controversial issues like EDCs, GMOs and pesticides, according to this study. Writing in EMBO Reports, Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Geoffrey Kabat claims to overcome public distrust, scientists need to stop pretending there is scientific consensus on these issues.
Why Do Farmers use Biotech Crops?
GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2015, by Brookes G, Barfoot P
The 12th annual report on the global economic and environmental impact of genetically modified (GM) crops shares the benefits that so many farmers worldwide have gained from planting biotech crops. The report shares the economic and environmental benefits that farmers all over the world have received since biotech crops were first commercialized over 20 years ago.
US Congress Questions IARC Scientific Integrity
In October the Republican chairmen of the US House Committee on Science and the Subcommittee on Environment sent a letter to the director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Chris Wild to say they were “concerned about the scientific integrity” of IARC’s monograph program, which assesses whether various substances can cause cancer in people. They listed their concerns and invited Mr Wild to testify to their committees.
How do Scientists Determine if Genetically Engineered Crops are Safe?
Society of Toxicology – Food and Feed Safety of Genetically Engineered Food Crops
While countless scientific studies have demonstrated that foods obtained from genetically engineered (GE) crops are as safe and nutritious as foods obtained from conventional crops, questions still remain about the safety of these products. The Society of Toxicology Issue Statement provides a brief overview of the research processes and principles used to assess the safety of GE crops.
The issue statement coincided with the publication of the article below, both addressing the same topic and sharing a title.
Review of Genetically Engineered Crops Safety Information
Food and Feed Safety of Genetically Engineered Food Crops, by Delaney B, Goodman RE, Ladics GS
This article reviews the safety information regarding Genetically Engineered (GE) crops and foods, by evaluating over 20 years of research in genetic engineering. Like the issue statement, it is based on the premise that although new GE crops are assessed by regulatory authorities prior to approval for commercial use, there is still a public debate on the safety GE crops.
A Detailed Look Into Pollinator Decline
Three years of banning neonicotinoid insecticides based on sub-lethal effects: can we expect to see effects on bees? By Blacquière T, van der Steen J
A Wageningen University literature review questions the link between pollinator decline and neonicotinoid (neonics) use, suggesting that honeybee colony losses were instead due to pests, parasites and bad beekeeping practices. It is too early to tell what effect the 2013 ban on use of neonics has had on pollinators, however, the authors concluded that it does offer the possibility to collect more data to supply future debate with accurate information.
Neonics Believed Safe for Honeybee Colonies
Quantitative Weight of Evidence Assessment of Effects of Three Neonicotinoids on Honeybee Colonies, by Solomon K, Stephenson G
An analysis by University of Guelph’s scientists found that three of the most popular neonics are safe for honeybee colonies when used properly. Their research, published in the Journal of Toxicology, is spread across five papers, and analyses over 60 peer-reviewed papers, as well as 170 unpublished industry studies submitted to regulatory agencies.