Growing of transgenic crops can contribute in all three traditional pillars of sustainability — economic, environmental and social.

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Review article
The role of transgenic crops in sustainable development
Julian Raymond Park, Ian McFarlane, Richard Hartley Phipps and Graziano Ceddia
School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AR, UK
Summary
The concept of sustainable development forms the basis for a wide variety of international and national policy making. World population continues to expand at about 80 M people per year, while the demand for natural resources continues to escalate.
Important policies, treaties and goals underpin the notion of sustainable development. In this paper, we discuss and evaluate a range of scientific literature pertaining to the use of transgenic crops in meeting sustainable development goals. It is concluded that a considerable body of evidence has accrued since the first commercial
growing of transgenic crops, which suggests that they can contribute in all three traditional pillars of sustainability, i.e. economically, environmentally and socially.
Management of herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant transgenic crops to minimize the risk of weeds and pests developing resistance is discussed, together with the associated concern about the risk of loss of biodiversity. As the world population continues to rise, the evidence reviewed here suggests it would be unwise to ignore
transgenic crops as one of the tools that can help meet aspirations for increasingly sustainable global development.

Plant Biotechnology Journal (2011) 9, pp. 2–21 doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7652.2010.00565.x

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David Tribe is an applied geneticist, teaching graduate/undergrad courses in food science, food safety, biotechnology and microbiology at the University of Melbourne.