Despite the controversy surrounding genetically modified crops, there is a reason they've been planted on more than 1 billion acres of land since 1996. GM crops can offer nutritional and medical benefits in developing countries and industrialized advantages such as drought tolerance and pest immunity. Well, except for that last one. A new study conducted by the University of Arizona found that five of the 13 major pests were found to be resistant to the crops engineered to keep them at bay. In 2006, only one super-pest existed.
Is this the beginning of the end for biotechnology seed companies Monsanto (NYSE:MON), Syngenta (NYSE:SYT), and DuPont (NYSE:DD)? I know this doesn't help the recent string of negative publicity, but it actually isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. In fact, the world's agriculture industry is doing remarkably well at the 1 billion acre mark, compared with the early doomsday predictions of the critics. This is nowhere near a global epidemic, either: The resistance problem is isolated to localized regions. Luckily, the industry has already come up with a solution that will reverse its spread and minimize future occurrences.
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Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check out his personal portfolio or his CAPS page, or follow him on Twitter, @BlacknGoldFool, to keep up with his writing on energy, bioprocessing, and biotechnology.
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