Genetically modified wheat has moved one step closer to reality. BASF and Monsanto are expanding their research cooperation to include GM wheat. Their plan is to introduce the first yield-enhanced wheat to the market at some point after 2020. Varieties with stress tolerance traits would be introduced later. A collaborative agreement between BASF and Monsanto was first established in 2007 and it concentrated on corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. That budget is up to $1.5 billion. Adding wheat to the agreement could add another billion dollars in investment. Some Canadian farm groups have been pushing for GM wheat saying wheat has fallen behind competing crops. Other Canadian farm groups are vehemently opposed to expanding the number of GM crops, citing concerns over market acceptance. Those opposed to GM crops garner a lot of attention and Canada has seen some major market disruptions due to GM varieties. However, each year more farmers worldwide are growing GM crops on an ever increasing acreage. It isn’t hard to imagine that we’ll be growing GM wheat in the not-too-distant future. I’m Kevin Hursh.
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