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Economic and agronomic impact of commercialized GM crops: a meta-analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2012

European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Edificio Expo, Avda. Inca Garcilaso 3, E-41092 Seville, Spain
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Edificio Expo, Avda. Inca Garcilaso 3, E-41092 Seville, Spain
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Edificio Expo, Avda. Inca Garcilaso 3, E-41092 Seville, Spain
*To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email:


The present paper presents a meta-analysis of the economic and agronomic performance of genetically modified (GM) crops worldwide. Bayesian, classical and non-parametric approaches were used to evaluate the performance of GM crops v. their conventional counterparts. The two main GM crop traits (herbicide tolerant (HT) and insect resistant (Bt)) and three of the main GM crops produced worldwide (Bt cotton, HT soybean and Bt maize) were analysed in terms of yield, production cost and gross margin. The scope of the analysis covers developing and developed countries, six world regions, and all countries combined. Results from the statistical analyses indicate that GM crops perform better than their conventional counterparts in agronomic and economic (gross margin) terms. Regarding countries’ level of development, GM crops tend to perform better in developing countries than in developed countries, with Bt cotton being the most profitable crop grown.

Crops and Soils Review
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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