Please wait while the search results are loading...

Genetically Modified (GM) Seeds and Crops/R&D Investment Is High, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Agricultural biotechnology first became a significant commercial industry during the 1980s and 1990s.  Chemical and seed companies were focused on developing genetically modified seeds and plants that had higher yields, better nutritional qualities and/or resistance to diseases, drought, herbicides or insects.  Additional traits of GM plants may include resistance to temperature and moisture extremes.  (Such plants are often described as a genetically modified organisms or GMOs.)
GM plants are predominantly grown in the U.S., but large amounts are also planted in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, India, Paraguay and China.  GM crop growth continues.  Farms in dozens of nations, ranging from simple family establishments to giant commercial operations, were planted with GM crops ranging from soy to corn to cotton.  While the number of acres planted with GM crops is growing, the actual list of crops is very short.  In the U.S., for example, only about 20 crops are approved, including corn, soy, alfalfa, papaya, summer squash, cotton, canola, sugar beets and, recently added, one special variety of potato and one special type of apple.
The ISAAA reports that about 90% of GM farmers are in developing countries.  Meanwhile, GM seeds have the potential to create vast benefits in low-income nations where reliance on small farms or gardens is high and food is scarce.
China has invested billions of dollars in GM research in rice, corn and wheat.  The Chinese Ministry of Agricultural Biosafety Committee issued biosafety certificates to a pest-resistant GM rice.  This rice is of the “Bt” variety.  bat stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, which is a naturally occurring, pest-killing toxin found in soil.  Organic farmers often spray a mixture containing Bt on their crops.  Bioengineers have developed very successful ways to introduce Bt into plant seeds.  As a result, the bacteria become part of the plant itself, with tremendous results.  This particular strain of Bt rice was created locally at the Huazhong Agricultural University and is reported to enable an 80% reduction in the use of pesticide while upping yield by as much as 8%.  According to the International Rice Research Institute, the Chinese have already more than tripled their rice crop over the past 50 years, largely by improving yield per acre, which is now two-thirds higher than the world’s average. However, this significant increase in output has been through the use of non-GM seeds.
In early 2016, China lifted its ban of GM crops.  The country has invested at least $3 billion in building stores of GM crop strains for future use, including those developed by Beijing-based Origin Agritech.  In early 2019, China approved the import of five genetically modified crops designed to withstand pest infestation.  The approval is a boon for U.S., Canadian and Brazilian farmers.
U.S. farmers have enjoyed greatly increased crop yields and crop quality thanks to GM seeds.  Biotech crops eventually become ingredients in everything from baked goods to soft drinks to clothing.  In the U.S., about 85% of all corn grown is from GM seeds, along with 91% of soybeans and 88% of cotton. 
Dozens of GM crops have been approved in selected nations worldwide.  These include canola, cotton, cowpea, soybean and sugarcane.
These breakthroughs could save significant food spoilage and waste.  GM methods may also be employed to create foods that combat human diseases.  In December 2015, a GM chicken was approved that produces eggs that treat a rare but potentially fatal disorder called lysosomal acid lipase deficiency.
Syngenta (, the result of the merger between the agricultural divisions of AstraZeneca and Novartis, is focused on seeds, crop protection products, insecticides and other agricultural products.  With this focus, Syngenta is in a position to make some of the best research, development and marketing decisions.
Meanwhile, Monsanto, formerly a major competitor to Syngenta, invested heavily in biotech seed research with significant results.  In addition to its biotech programs, Monsanto produced conventionally bred seeds, especially seeds for produce such as vegetables and fruits.  Although bred without genetic engineering, these seeds were carefully developed to maximize desired traits such as taste, shelf life and shipping durability.  Monsanto was acquired by Bayer in mid-2018 for $63 billion and became part of Bayer Crop Science (
A particular concern among farmers in many parts of the world is that GM crops may infest neighboring plants when they pollinate, thus triggering unintended modification of plant DNA.  In any event, there is a vast distrust of GM foods in certain locales.  U.S. food growers and processors face significant difficulty exporting to the European Union (EU) because of the reliance that American farmers place on GM seeds.
The European Union, along with specific nations in Europe, has kept many regulations in place that make the use of GM seeds or the import of GM food products a difficult task.  These restrictions remain a hot topic of debate at the World Trade Organization and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, a handful of localities in the U.S. have banned or restricted the planting of GM seeds, hoping to protect traditional crops that local growers are widely known for.  A typical restriction is to require that GM seeds be planted at least a certain distance away from non-GM crops.

A Representative List of Organizations that Have Used our Research and Products:


I’m amazed at how much information is available and the various ways to access it. This will be a major resource for our serious job seekers.

Career Services, Penn State University

Plunkett Research Online provides a great ‘one stop shop’ for us to quickly come up to speed on major industries. It provides us with an overall analysis of the market, key statistics, and overviews of the major players in the industry in an online service that is fast, easy to navigate, and reliable.

Wendy Stotts, Manager, Carlson Companies

I really appreciate the depth you were able to get to so quickly (for our project). The team has looked through the material and are very happy with the data you pulled together.

Hilton Worldwide, Marketing Manager

We are especially trying to push Plunkett since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Library Services, St. John’s College

We are especially trying to push Plunkett’s since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Gary White, Business Materials Selector, Penn State University

Your tool is very comprehensive and immensely useful. The vertical marketing tool is very helpful, for it assists us in that venue, as well as targeting customers’ competition for new sales…The comprehensive material is absolutely fabulous. I am very impressed, I have to say!

Tammy Dalton, National Account Manager, MCI

The more I get into the database, the happier I am that we’ll have it–REALLY happy!!! Between the quality and affordability of your product, its appeal to and value for our users, and the inestimably ethical and loyalty-guaranteeing conduct of your business, I will always have more than sufficient praises to sing for Plunkett Research.

Michael Oppenheim, Collections & Reference Services, UCLA

Plunkett Research Online is an excellent resource…the database contains a wealth of useful data on sectors and companies, which is easy to search and well presented. Help and advice on how to conduct, export and save searches is available at all stages.

Penny Crossland, Editor, VIP Magazine
Real Time Web Analytics