Set to launch at the end of this year, a Chinese research program on genetically modified (GM) crops could receive $1.4 billion dollars from the government over the next five years. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), 114.3 million hectares of GM crops were planted worldwide in 2007, an 18.3% rise from 2006. China is one of 23 countries that planted GM crops in 2007, of which 11 were industrialized and 12 were developing countries. Of the GM crops that China has developed, such as tomatoes, papaya and different varieties of rice, it has only allowed Bt cotton to be marketed. GM crops’ yield, quality, nutritional value and drought resistance will be among the targets of the research program, with corn and wheat receiving the same priority status that rice and cotton currently hold.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry

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