Plant banks win against GMOs – maize varieties bred for drought resistance using saved seed in international plant banks are often years ahead of GMO varieties, the journal Nature has reported.
Despite companies that use gene technology claiming that their research and development will ‘feed the world’, especially as climate change sends us more heat and drought periods, non-GMO plant breeding has romped away in developing more drought resistant maize for growing in poverty-stricken Africa.
In its News item ‘Cross-bred crops get fit faster‘ Nature reports that genetic engineering is a good 10 years behind more conventional plant breeding and hybridising when it comes to developing drought-resistant maize. The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa project has used saved seed from CIMMYT, a large plant bank in Mexico, and conventional breeding to develop the new maize which it estimates will increase yields by about 9% in 13 African countries.
By identifying characteristics that enabled drought tolerance, such as the number of days between male flower pollen shedding and the emergence of the female flower silks, conventional plant breeders have done what GMO researchers have not yet achieved. (Or then been able to patent.)