Ademola A. Adenle, E. Jane Morris, Denis J. Murphy

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The predicted growth of the world population to over 9 billion people by the year 2050 will pose a great challenge for developing countries, where most of the population growth is occurring. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that global demand for food, feed and fibre will nearly double in the first half of this century, while increasingly crops may also be used for bioenergy and other industrial purposes. At the same time food production alone will need to increase by 70% over this period, and this will have to be achieved largely through the application of technology to increase crop yields rather than through an increase in the area under cultivation. Meeting this challenge will require developing countries in particular to embrace modern agricultural technologies. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) form a potentially vital tool if this increase in production is to be achieved. However, most developing countries have not yet developed integrated, fit-for-purpose risk analysis and decision-making frameworks that could guide the sustainable development, use and regulation of GMOs. At the same time, we have already seen the explosive growth of genomic technologies over the past decade, and the twenty-first century is likely to witness the emergence of new and potentially disruptive biological developments related to agriculture. Research and new frontiers in genomic biosciences will revolutionise not only medicine, but also the way we develop and use biological resources and undertake agricultural production. The appropriate governance of GMOs and a suite of new technologies such as genome editing needs to be addressed with urgency both in the developing world and in the developed world. GMOs are currently defined in different ways by different regulatory bodies, and there is an emerging debate over the utility of such a broad-brush term in the context of risk assessment and regulation. There is also a dichotomy between GMO risk analysis based largely on the process of creating new crop varieties (typified by the approach in Europe, which has also been adopted by most developing countries that are signatories to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety) and risk management based largely on the nature of the new crop varieties themselves (the product-based approach commonly applied in North America).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGenetically Modified Organisms in Developing Countries
Subtitle of host publicationRisk Analysis and Governance
EditorsAdemola A. Adenle, E. Jane Morris, Denis J. Murphy
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781316585269
ISBN (Print)9781107151918
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • GMOs
  • Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Developing Countries
  • Developing world
  • Agricultural Biotechnology


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