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Genetically-modified plants can bolster global food supply

Genetically-modified plants could bolster global food supply which is being challenged by rapid climatic changes and rising population levels.

Over 90 per cent of the total food supply consists of either plants or meat from production animals raised on plant-based feeds.
By 2050, 70 per cent more food will need to be produced worldwide on roughly the same area of farmland to keep up with global population growth. At the same time, major changes in climate are expected to occur.
Although a quarter million plant types exist, global food production today is based on only about 100 of them. Wheat, corn and rice account for over 60 per cent of all production.
“We depend completely on the success of these few crops. But I am convinced that the fitness of current plant varieties will not last forever,” warned Atle Bones, biology professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
“All it will take to trigger a famine is one year of badly reduced yields for just one of the three main crops,” added Bones, according to a NTNU statement.
He believes that to ensure a secure global food supply, every existing means — including genetically modified organisms — would have to be used.
Genetically-modified plants are created by adding, removing or modifying one or more genes to breed plants with desired traits.
According to Bones, there are thousands of plants that could be cultivated for food once they are bred to remove toxic compounds or undesirable traits.