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MAY 2009



New Journal: GM Crops

Dr. Naglaa A. Abdallah,
Cairo University,
Cairo, Egyp

In July of 2009 we will launch GM Crops, the first international peer-reviewed journal of its kind to focus exclusively on genetically modified crops.

We believe that this is an excellent time to start the journal because of the increasing focus on GM crops and improved agronomic traits. Genetic engineering techniques and applications have developed rapidly since the introduction of the first genetically modified plants in the 1980s. There has been a rapid increase in GM crop R&D by academia, government and industry around the world. GM crops are useful to consumers, farmers and the environment, and are growing in popularity worldwide.

GM crops are needed to tackle the food needs of a growing population. Crops with improved agronomic characteristics can provide protection against many of the biotic stresses caused by weeds, pests, and diseases currently experienced in developing countries. Also, GM crop R&D is focused on the development of more complex traits, such as drought resistance and the development of foods with enhanced nutritional value which may provide a low-cost way of dealing with widespread malnutrition problems.

Because GM crops can address key challenges in the food and agricultural sector, it is expected that the number of GM crops ready for commercial release in many countries will expand considerably over the next few years. Genetic modification is a tool integrated into a wider research agenda, where public and private science can balance each other. Scientists in both the public and private sectors regard the GM process as a major new set of tools to improve crop traits, while industry regards it as an opportunity for increased profits. Genetically modified crop varieties allegedly provide farmers with various agronomic benefits, but serious environmental, health and ethical concerns also are being raised.