Impact of Regulation on Innovation Indicators in the USA

Comparable data to the character of GMO-related research projects to those of the EU could not be found during literature search for USA. Therefore, the analysis for this country starts with field trials with GM plants.

In the USA, more than 8400 field trials with GMOs have been registered since 1987 (Fig. 16.3). A direct comparison between the numbers of notifications in the EU and the number of notifications in the USA is not feasible due to differences in how the data is collected. Nevertheless, when taking into account the average field trial duration in the EU of 2.6 years (Lheureux et al., 2003), it is evident that the negative trend found in annual EU notifications since 1999 does not exist to the same extent in the USA.

Like in the EU, field trials with GM plants are concentrated among a small number of firms and a limited number of crops in the USA. Three companies (Monsanto, Du Pont and Bayer Crop Science) accounted for 48% of all trials and almost two-thirds of the trials were carried out in maize, potato and soybean

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1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002


Fig. 16.3. Number of permits and notifications with genetically modified (GM) plants in the USA between 1987 and 2002. (From APHIS, 2003.)

(Arundel, 2002b). 27.5% of the US trials related to herbicide resistance, 41.6% to pest resistance, 19.2% to output traits for food or industrial purpose and the remaining 11.7% to other categories like markers, fertility and agronomic traits (Arundel, 2002 a). Among pest resistance 63% related to insect resistance (mostly using the Bt gene), 21% to virus resistance and ~12% to fungi (Arundel, 2002b). Concerning the development over time, it can be observed that herbicide resistance had the dominant position with a proportion between 25% and 30% during the 1990s. Pest resistance traits also did not change their relevance significantly and had a share of ~40 - 45% of the total number of field trials. In contrast, there was a considerable decline in the share of field trials for food industrial purposes from ~30% in 1995 to 17% in 2001, whereas the share of technical agronomic field trials increased from 5% in 1993 to 16% in 2001 (Arundel, 2002a).

Since 1994, GM varieties of 15 plants have been commercialized worldwide. The big majority of product approvals concentrates on maize, oilseed rape, soybeans, cotton and potatoes, whereas only single GM products have been approved in other agricultural crops (AGBIOS, 2004). In terms of the number of market approvals, maize represents the most important agricultural crop. The most important countries were the USA and Canada, in both of which 16 GM varieties of maize had been commercialized (AGBIOS, 2004), followed by Japan, Argentina and Australia (Lheuereux et al., 2003). Compared to other crops, a relatively broad range of companies have already commercialized GM products in maize including Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta Seeds, BASF and Dow Agro Sciences. These companies are active in the USA as well, concentrating mainly on herbicide-resistant and/or insect-resistant maize (AGBIOS, 2004).

Other cereal GM plants are commercially available only in rice and wheat: Bayer Crop Science commercialized one herbicide-resistant rice variety in the USA in 1999, whereas Cyanamid Crop Protection did so for a herbicide-resistant wheat in Canada in 1998 (AGBIOS, 2004). In addition, Monsanto announced the introduction of GM RR heart red spring wheat between 2003 and 2005 (AgroFood Biotech, 2002). After strong opposition from wheat importing countries, as well as the US wheat growers (fearing to lose competition on their major export markets), Monsanto announced it would stop its commercialization activities in herbicide-resistant wheat in 2004 - except an approval of GM wheat at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (Rampton, 2004).

Another important crop in terms of commercialized GM products is oilseed rape of which 16 varieties have been commercialized globally (Lheureux et al.,

2003). This relates in particular to Canada, where solely 14 GM varieties had been brought to the market, indicating the high relevance of this country as producer of rapeseed. Until 2004, five varieties of GM oilseed rape have been commercialized in the USA (AGBIOS, 2004) with three companies being active in this field (Bayer Crop Science, Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred). More than three-quarters of the commercially available GM oilseed varieties in the USA or Canada include herbicide resistance (against different herbicides), sometimes combined with male sterility (AGBIOS, 2004).

For soybeans, which represent the most important GM crop in terms of cultivated area, eight GM varieties had been approved globally since 1994. Most of them were commercialized in the USA, followed by Canada and Japan (AGBIOS,

2004). Concerning numbers of approved varieties in the USA, Bayer Crop Science was the most important company, followed by Du Pont (AGBIOS, 2004) with herbicide resistance being the most important trait.

Since 1994, five GM varieties of cotton have been approved in overseas countries. This related in particular to the USA, Japan, Australia and Canada (Lheureux et al., 2003). This crop is dominated by Monsanto and its subsidiary Calgene, which commercialized either insect-resistant or herbicide-resistant cotton in various countries. Monsanto also commercialized four GM varieties of potatoes mainly in the USA, Canada and Australia since 1994, including an insect-resistant potato (Lheureux et al., 2003). In addition to these major crops, both with respect to cultivated area and number of approved GM products, many such products have been commercialized in agricultural and horticultural crops, e.g. linseed, melon, papaya, squash, tomatoes, tobacco, carnation and chicory (Lheureux et al., 2003).

On a global basis transgenic crops are already cultivated to a high extent. A strong increase in the area grown with GM plants was registered in the last years. In 2004, 81 million hectares were grown globally with transgenic plants (Fig. 16.4). More than 95% of transgenic plants were cultivated in only five countries, namely the USA, Argentina, Canada, Brazil and China (James, 2004). In 2004, the main transgenic crops were soybeans (48.2 million hectares), corn (19.6 million hectares), cotton (9.0 million hectares) and rapeseed (4.1 million hectares) (James, 2004). Regarding modified traits, there is a strong dominance of herbicide-resistant plants, which were cultivated on 74% of the global area grown with GM plants. Insect-resistant plants were grown on 18% of this area and combined herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant plants on 8% (James, 2004).

Fig. 16.4. Cultivated area with genetically modified (GM) plants between 1996 and 2004. (From James, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004; Menrad et al, 2003.)


Fig. 16.4. Cultivated area with genetically modified (GM) plants between 1996 and 2004. (From James, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004; Menrad et al, 2003.)

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