National Program for Developing Biotech Crops in Korea

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Abstract or Summary

Global area of genetically modified crops (GM crops or biotech crops) continued to grow and reached 189.8 million hectares in 2017. Recently, a total of 24 countries approved GM crops for planting and an additional 43 countries formally imported biotech crops for food, feed, and processing, meaning that biotech crops are now commonly accepted in those countries. Although biotech crops should be one of key solutions for the challenge of the global food security which will be caused by population growth and climate change, it is real that there are still some debates to accept biotech crops in many countries including Korea. Because of that, safety assessment is an inevitable step for developing and commercializing GM crops. It is, therefore, very important to understand safety regulation. In addition to considering safety assessment, there are several critical points which we must consider before starting to produce GM crops such as target traits and their market values. In other words, passing safety regulation processing and proving market value should be considered first in the development of GM seeds. National Program for GM Crops (NCGC), one of the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Programs organized by RDA in South Korea, was established in 2011 to develop biotech crops that will be used in the future to solve problems in our agriculture. To accomplish this mission, the NCGC carried out the exploration of useful functional genes, development of qualified events, and the safety assessment of developed events. This report will present the results of our research to develop useful biotech crops.

Safety assessment for newly developed GM crops revealed that they show any difference compare to conventional non-GM varieties. These results mean that biotechnology crops are safe enough to meet consumer’s needs through commercialization or address adverse situations such as climate change.

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