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Rivista di Biologia Molecolare e Biotecnologie
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Minerva Biotecnologica 2005 March;17(1):13-20
Assessing the impact of genetically modified crops on agricultural biodiversity
Hails R. S.
NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford, UK
In the last few years there has been considerable debate over the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops into European agriculture. In contrast, other countries, such as the US, China, Argentina and Canada have adopted this new technology with enthusiasm, with millions of hectares being used to grow GM crops. The vast majority of these crops have been modified to be herbicide tolerant or insect resistant. The reason for caution in Europe is that intensive agriculture has led to a decline in biodiversity. Some GM crops may represent another step down the path of intensification, while others may provide opportunities to promote integrated pest management. Recent experimental and theoretical studies shed light on the risks and opportunities that GM crops may offer in this respect.