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2019 Overview of Global GMO Developmentqrcode

Feb. 11, 2020

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Feb. 11, 2020

2019 Overview of Global GMO Development

By Jason Zhang
 
In recent years, genetically-modified (GM) crops have maintained a high adoption rate. In 2018, planting area reached a new record high of 191.7 million hectares. However, the growth rate of planting areas used for GM crops continues to decline, increasing by only 1% in 2018 compared to 2.54% in 2017 and 3% in 2016. At the same time, the average adoption rate of GM crops by the five largest GM crop-producing countries, i.e. the average adoption rate of soybean, maize and canola, is close to its limits at 93.3% in the US, 93% in Brazil, nearly 100% in Argentina, 92.5% in Canada and 95% in India, according to the ISAAA Report 2018. 
 
The industry as a whole has entered a stagnant period and continued growth is dependent on the deregulation of emerging markets and the research and development of new products.
 
In 2019, 43 genetically modified organisms (GMO) were approved around the world covering 40 varieties. Nine of these were new crop varieties (see Table 1), including one variety of canola, four varieties of cotton, one variety of cowpea, one variety of soybean, and two varieties of sugarcane. 
 
Compared to the previous two years, the total number of approvals and the number of varieties involved declined, but the number of newly approved varieties remained stable. In this report, AgroPages will provide a brief interpretation of global GMO developments in 2019 based on the following categories: the GMO market in Argentina, the unusual adoption of GMOs in China, and GM food labelling standards in the US.
 
Latest developments to the Argentine GM market
 
In 2018, Argentina ranked third among the top ten countries that planted GM crops with a total planting area of 23.9 million hectares, including 18 million hectares of GM soybeans, 5.5 million hectares of GM maize and 0.37 million hectares of GM cotton, under an adoption rate approaching 100%.
 
Few GM crops were approved in Argentina in the past few years. However, after President Mauricio Macri took office, the pace of approval accelerated. During his administration, nearly 25 GM traits were approved, almost half of all the GMO traits approved in the past 23 years. After deregulation in 2018, Argentina’s GMO market experienced rapid development. Eight GM crop applications were approved in 2018 involving maize, soybean and alfalfa. In 2019, this number reached twelve, accounting for nearly one-third of the total number of global approvals this year, including six GM maize traits, three GM soybean traits and three GM cotton traits.
 
In October, Argentina approved maize event MON87427 x MON89034 x MIR162 x NK603 (Monsanto), which is the 60th GM crop approved in this country since the first in 1996.
 
To support the domestic cotton industry and shorten its technological gap with Brazil, the Argentinian government is committed to protecting intellectual property rights and introducing more advanced GM cotton technologies. Argentina’s National Seed Institute (INASE) has made considerable efforts to control illegal seeds, including by deterring farmers from using unauthorized traits and controlling cotton seed breeding facilities to cut off illegal seed production lines. This year, Argentina approved three new GM cotton traits. In February, the country approved a type of GM cotton that can resist glyphosate herbicide and HPPD inhibitor herbicide. In June, GlyTol TwinLink Plus® GM cotton with herbicide resistant and insect resistant traits was authorized, the second GM cotton with insect resistant traits after BollGard was introduced in 1998 to combat Pectinophora gossypiella, a harmful insect that developed resistance to Bt protein and poses a serious threat to cotton crops. In August, VIPCOT GM cotton resistant to Lepidoptera insects was approved. The first two products were commercialized by BASF, and VIPCOT was developed by Syngenta and is now licensed to BASF.
 
In mid-October, the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) started the official registration of the country’s first GM potato, SPT TICAR, aiming to launch a GM potato product next year. This potato virus (PVY) resistant product was jointly developed by CONICET and Sidus, a biotechnology company.
 
The unusual adoption of GMOs in China
 
At the start of this year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China released its 2018 List of Agricultural GMO Safety Certificates, including the approval of five new agricultural GMOs, such as herbicide-resistant canola and herbicide-resistant soybean, and the renewal of 26 agricultural GMOs. Currently, only GM cotton and GM papaya are approved to be farmed in China. According to the ISAAA Report, the planting area of GM crops in China totaled 2.9 million hectares in 2018, ranking second in Asia after India, which planted 11.6 million hectares of cotton.
 
In recent years, destressing news kept being released on China’s GMO policy, but there has been a lack of substantial progress. In 2015, “promoting the industrialization of GM industrial crops” was written in the 13th Five-Year Plan, while in 2016, it was announced that the country would adjust its strategic focus and promote the industrialization of insect-resistant maize. In 2017, ChemChina acquired Syngenta, and there were more approvals for importing new GM crops. However, China’s GMO policy always lacked the “finishing shot.” 
 
On 30th December, 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced that 192 plant varieties would be granted the “Agricultural Genetically-Modified Organism Safety Certificate,” including 189 cotton varieties, two maize varieties and one soybean variety, giving China’s seed industry another hope for a better future. This is the second time when China issued safety certificates to domestic GM crops in the main food sector in the past 10 years, after the former Ministry of Agriculture issued safety certificates to domestic GM maize and rice in 2009. 
 
The newly approved GM maize and soybean varieties are DBN9936, an insect-resistant and herbicide-resistant maize produced by Beijing Dabeinong Biotechnology Co., Ltd.; Shuangkang 12-5, an insect-resistant and herbicide-resistant maize produced by Hangzhou Ruifeng Bio-tech Co., Ltd. and Zhejiang University; and SHZD32-01, a herbicide-resistant soybean from Shanghai Jiaotong University. 
 
According to the “Regulations on the Safety Management of Agricultural Genetically-Modified Organisms” and related systems, the approval of GM seeds in China shall be subject to safety evaluations and crop variety examination and approval. With regards to commercialization, a seed production license from the Administrative Department of Agriculture under the State Council must be obtained. At present, no food crops have obtained this license and there has been no commercial cultivation. However, in view of the ongoing promotion of the government’s GMO policy, the industry believes that this will be an important step towards China’s deregulation of the cultivation of major GM food crops in the next few years.
 
In 2019, China’s seed companies have made new breakthroughs in the industrialization of GM crops. In February 2019, a GM soybean (event: DBN-09004-6, resistant to glyphosate and glufosinate herbicides) developed by Beijing Dabeinong Biotechnology Co., Ltd. was officially approved by the Argentinian government for planting, the first GM crop developed by a Chinese company was allowed to be grown internationally. Considering the heavy annual investment in scientific research and the current impossibility of industrialization in China, Dabeinong finally found a new way of going global successfully. Dabeinong stated that it would soon begin its import application process for the product, according to Chinese import regulations, and is applying for a planting license in Uruguay, followed by Brazil. It will also apply for import licenses from other major soybean import markets, such as the European Union, Japan and South Korea.
 
This example provides a new industrialization model for some major Chinese seed companies. In the absence of a clear GMO policy in China, companies with proven transgene technologies should consider going global and seeking the possibility of overseas planting instead of staying at the laboratory stage. It can also help recover part of scientific research funds while establishing a solid foundation for future GMO industrialization in China. Such “re-imports” can also consolidate the strategic consideration of national food security.
 
GM food labelling standards in the US
 
In 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill, titled, National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which marked the end of the debate over the labeling of GM foods in the US. The law will enter into force on 1st January, 2020, and will be fully authorized on 1st January, 2022. Any product containing GMO products or GMO by-products must display a label indicating this fact. After 1st January, 2022, any product not carrying such a label will be deemed as containing no GMO ingredients.
 
In 2019, “Bioengineered” (“BE”) labels developed by the US Department of Agriculture were found on products sold in grocery stores. The first to use the new label was a ground beef substitute produced by Impossible Food containing protein from GM soybeans, which first appeared in groceries in September.
 
Under the new law, products created through new breeding techniques, such as CRISPR, TALEN and RNAi, will be excluded from the new labeling standard. Also excluded is animal feed, meaning that meat products, eggs and dairy products originating from animals eating GM feed need not be disclosed. Refined foods extracted from GM crops are not required to be disclosed unless they contain detectable modified genetic substances. Beet sugar, soybean oil and maize sweeteners produced mainly from GM seeds are also not required be labeled as GM ingredients.
 
GM products currently approved for commercial production and sale in the US in 2019 include AquAdvantage salmon, Arctic apple, canola, maize, cotton, eggplant (BARI Bt Begun variety), Papaya (ringspot virus resistant variety), pineapple (pink flesh variety), potato, soybean, pumpkin and beet.
 

Table 1 Biotech/GM crop approvals in 2019

Company/Products*(Event name)

GM Trait

Country/Region

Approved use

Corteva

Power Core™ x MIR162 x Enlist™ Maize (MON89034 x TC1507 x NK603 x MIR162 x DAS40278)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate & 2,4-D HT, Lepidopteran IR, MM

South Korea

Food use

Enlist™ Maize (DAS40278)

2,4-D HT

Argentina

Food use, Cultivation

Maize1 (DAS40278 x NK603)

Glyphosate & 2,4-D HT

Argentina

Food use, Cultivation

Enlist™ Soybean (DAS68416-4)

Glufosinate & 2,4-D HT

Philippines

F&F

Maize1 (4114)

Glufosinate HT, Coleopteran & Lepidopteran IR

China, EU

F&F

Maize1 (MON89034 x TC1507 x NK603 x DAS40278)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate & 2,4-D HT, Lepidopteran IR

EU

F&F

Maize1 (MON89034 x TC1507 x MON88017 x 59122 x DAS40278)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate & 2,4-D HT, Lepidopteran & Coleopteran IR

EU

F&F

Corteva and MS Technologies

Enlist E3 Soybean (DAS44406-6)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate & 2,4-D HT

China, Philippines

F&F

INDEAR

Soybean1 (HB4 x GTS 40-3-2)

Glyphosate HT, Drought stress tolerance

Argentina

Food use, Cultivation

Brazil

F, F&C

Verdeca

Verdeca HB4 Soybean (HB4)

Drought stress tolerance

Brazil

F, F&C

United States

Cultivation

Syngenta

Maize1 (MZIR098)

Glufosinate HT, Coleopteran IR, Multiple IR

Japan

Feed use, Cultivation

Taiwan

Food use

VIPCOT™ Cotton (COT102 (IR102))

Lepidopteran IR, AR

Argentina

Cultivation

Agrisure® Duracade™ Maize (5307)

Multiple IR, MM

EU

F&F

Agrisure™ Viptera 3220 Maize (Bt11 x MIR162 x TC1507 x GA21)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate HT, Lepidopteran IR, MM

EU

F&F

Maize1 (MZHG0JG)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate HT

EU

F&F

Maize1 (Bt11 x MIR162 x TC1507 x 5307 x GA21)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate HT, Lepidopteran IR, Multiple IR

EU

F&F

Bayer (Monsanto)

Roundup Ready™ Maize (MON87427)

Glyphosate HT

Argentina

Food use, Cultivation

Maize1 (MON87411)

Glyphosate HT, Coleopteran IR

Argentina

Food use, Cultivation

EU

F&F

Maize1 (MON87427 x MON89034 x MIR162 x NK603)

Glyphosate HT, Lepidopteran IR, MM

Argentina, Brazil

F, F&C

Cotton1 (MON88702)

Hemipteran IR

Japan, Taiwan

Food use

TruFlex™ Roundup Ready™ Canola (MON88302)

Glyphosate HT

China

F&F

Soybean1 (MON87751)

Lepidopteran IR

EU

F&F

BASF

Canola1, 2 (LBFLFK)

Modified oil/fatty acid, Imazamox HT

United States

Cultivation

Cotton1 (GHB811)

Glyphosate & Isoxaflutole HT

Brazil

F, F&C

Taiwan

Food use

Cotton1, 2 (GHB811 x T304-40 x GHB119 x COT102)

Glufosinate & Isoxaflutole HT, Lepidopteran IR

Brazil

F, F&C

InVigor™ Canola (RF3)

Glufosinate HT, Fertility restoration

China

F&F

Herbicide-tolerant Soybean line (SYHT0H2)

Glufosinate & Mesotrione HT

China

F&F

Soybean1 (FG72 (FGØ72-2, FGØ72-3))

Glyphosate & Isoxaflutole HT

China

F&F

Argentina

Food use, Cultivation

GlyTol TwinLink Plus Cotton (BCS-GH002-5 x BCS-GH004-7 x BCS-GH005-8 x SYN-IR102-7)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate HT, Lepidopteran & Coleopteran IR, AR

Argentina

NA

Cotton1 (BCS GH811-4)

Isoxaflutole & Mesotrione & Glyphosate HT

Argentina

NA

Cotton1 (GHB614 x LLCotton25 x MON15985)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate HT, Lepidopteran IR, AR, Visual marker

EU

F&F

Maize1 (MON87403)

Increased Ear Biomass

EU

F&F

African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)

SAMPEA 20-T Cowpea1, 2 (AAT709A)

Lepidopteran IR

Nigeria

F, F&C

Okanagan Specialty Fruits Incorporated

Arctic™ Fuji Apple (NF872)

Non-Browning Phenotype, AR

United States

F, F&C

Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira (CTC)

Surgarcane1, 2 (CTC91087-6)

Lepidopteran IR

Brazil

F, F&C

Surgarcane1, 2 (CTC93209-4)

Lepidopteran IR

Brazil

F, F&C

Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group

Soybean1,2 (DBN 09004-6)

Glufosinate & Glyphosate HT

Argentina

Cultivation

Ahmadu Bello University

Cotton1, 2 (MRC 7377)

Pest resistance, improved fiber strength and length

Nigeria

Cultivation

Cotton1, 2 (MRC 7367)

Pest resistance, improved fiber strength and length

Nigeria

Cultivation

Texas A&M AgriLife Research University

Cotton1, 2 (TAM66274)

AR, Low Gossypol

United States

F, F&C

Note: * if the products have no trade name, only show the crop type;
1 trade name is not available; 2 new GM product varieties approved in 2019;
F&F = Food and Feed use; F, F&C = Food, Feed and Cultivation; HT = herbicide resistance; IR = insect resistance; MM = Mannose metabolism; AR = Antibiotic resistance

Source: AgroNews

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