Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 2: Global adoption of GM crops, 1995-2010
Although the first commercial genetically modified (GM) crops were planted in 1994 (tomatoes), 1996 was the first year in which a significant area of crops containing GM traits were planted (1.66 million hectares). Since then there has been a dramatic increase in plantings and by 2010/11, the global planted area reached over 139 million hectares. This is equal to 71 per cent of the total utilized agricultural area of the European Union or two and a quarter times the EU 27 area devoted to cereals. GM traits have largely been adopted in four main crops - canola, corn, cotton and soybeans - although small areas of GM crops in sugar beet (adopted in the USA and Canada since 2008), papaya (in the USA since 1999 and China since 2008) and squash (in the USA since 2004) have also been planted. In terms of the share of the four main crops in which GM traits have been commercialized, GM traits accounted for 42 per cent of the global plantings to these four crops in 2010.
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