Environmental risks of Bt-maize and transgenic drought tolerant maize
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The use of genetically modified crops could offer a solution for the food problem that probably will arise due to the increasing world population and a climate change induced decrease in agricultural productivity (Whitford et al., 2010). However, the commercialisation of transgenic crop events encounters heavy resistance in many countries. Especially the environmental effects of transgenic crops lead to concerns. These concerns include risks of biodiversity loss and health and survival risks for non-target species. This study discusses the available data on the impact that Bt-maize has had on the environment since its commercialization in 1996. Additionally, the putative environmental risks of drought-tolerant maize events are assessed using the data available for Bt-maize. For a better perception on the impact of transgenic maize cultivation a general introduction in maize cultivation and genetical modification is given. Subsequently, the Bt-maize and drought tolerant maize events are described. Overall, laboratory and field studies showed that the risks of Bt-maize for the environment are negligible. Also the expected impact of drought tolerant maize appears to be low. Furthermore, the introduction of transgenic events, especially in the tropical regions, can result in increased yields per square meter. This could be beneficial for overall biodiversity by decreased conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural land.