US ‘superweeds’ epidemic shines spotlight on GMOs

no gmoJanuary 12, 20
By Veronique Dupont

The United States is facing an epidemic of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” that some activists and researchers are blaming on GMOs, an accusation rejected by industry giants.
According to a recent study, the situation is such that American farmers are “heading for a crisis.”
Many scientists blame overuse of herbicides, prompted by seeds genetically modified to resist them.
“In parts of the country, weeds resistant to the world’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, now grow in the vast majority of soybean, cotton, and corn fields,” many of which were planted with seeds resistant to the weedkiller, said the study published in the journal Science in September.
Earlier this month, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it was considering the release of new genetically-engineered seeds that are resistant to multiple herbicides.
But “weeds that can shrug off multiple other herbicides are also on the rise,” the study said.
Nearly half (49 percent) of all US farmers said they had “glyphosate resistant weeds” on their farms in 2012, according to the most recent review from agri-business market research firm Stratus. That’s up from 34 percent of farmers in 2011.
Glyphosate is the name of the most frequently used herbicide in the United States and was created by agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto in the 1970s. Today, the US company markets it as Roundup while, among other versions, competitor Dow Chemical sells a similar product under the name Durango.

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