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GMOs: Prospects for Increased Crop Productivity in Developing Countries

  • Robert E. Evenson


    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

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    Genetically Modified Crops (GMO foods) have been widely available to farmers since 1996. The Gene Revolution, based on recombinant DNA (rDNA) genetic engineering techniques, is seen by proponents as both supplanting Green Revolution varieties, based on conventional plant breeding techniques, and potentially enabling "disadvantaged" production environments, unreached by Green Revolution varieties to achieve productivity improvements. This paper argues that the private firms supplying GM crop products have generally had little interest in selling products in disadvantaged production environments. The paper also argues that present rDNA techniques allow only static gains from specific "trait" improvements. But these GM products can be installed on Green Revolution varieties where continued dynamic varietal improvement is possible. As a consequence, the Gene Revolution complements the Green Revolution, and because trait incorporation expands area planted to Green Revolution varieties, there is potential for productivity improvement in disadvantaged environments.

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    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 878.

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    Length: 21 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:878
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    1. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
    2. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
    3. Zvi Griliches, 1958. "Research Costs and Social Returns: Hybrid Corn and Related Innovations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 419.
    4. Evenson, Robert E & Kislev, Yoav, 1976. "A Stochastic Model of Applied Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 265-81, April.
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