Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 46: Wheat: status, outlook and implications
Wheat is one of the next crops to be commercialized with genetically modified (GM) traits. Development of GM wheat is important for a number of reasons (see Wilson et al., 2003 for a comprehensive discussion of the issues related to GM wheat). First, wheat will be one of the first food grains in which GM traits are introduced and will likely be a precursor to similar developments in other food grains. Second, wheat is traded among many importing and exporting countries, many of which have very different mechanisms for regulating trade in GM crops and for marketing products with GM ingredients. Third, there is no doubt that there will be highly differentiated demand for products produced with or without GM ingredients and/or requirements to provide information to consumers among these countries. There are numerous reasons for the recent increased investment in wheat technology. One is that wheat has been losing competitiveness to many other crops, due in part to the more rapid adoption of GM technology in corn, soybeans and canola. Second, wheat is a very large acreage crop worldwide and, as a result, some economies of trait development can be achieved. Third, expanded development has been encouraged by a political process in the United States.
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