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What the Future Holds

For the first 12 years the agricultural biotechnology products released onto the market included crops with improved pest resistance (protection against viruses, insects, fungi and bacteria), tolerance to herbicides, improved nutrition and better storage.  The new generation of biotechnology products includes even better pest resistance, more nutritional improvements and tolerance to drought, frost and salt in soils.  New crops have been developed that produce health, environmental and industrial products, including novel crops that have reduced allergens or anti-nutrients.

The application of biotechnology is spreading to fruits, vegetables, trees and other cereals.  This technology has the potential to address specific improvements in specific crops and to use plants for environmental, industrial and pharmaceutical purposes.  In the next 10 years farmers can expect to be able to grow maize that provides grain for food as well as leaves and stalks for biofuels; speciality crops grown for the pharmaceutical industry; and a wider range of food crops with nutritional and growing improvements.  In the next 25 years, farmers can expect speciality crops that will be marketed on contract to specific industries to make energy, chemicals, health products and products for environmental protection and clean-up.

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