Monsanto CompanyMonsanto Chemical CompanyCalgene
Over 8,000 cancer patients are suing Monsanto in numerous state courts for failure to warn the public about the risk of cancer associated with the glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup after the IARC report in 2015 linking glyphosate to cancer in humans. Monsanto denies that Roundup is carcinogenic. In March 2017, 40 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit at the Alameda County Superior Court, a branch of the California Superior Court, asking for damages caused by the company's glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, and demanding a jury trial. On August 10, 2018, Monsanto lost the first decided case.


Syngenta AGAgricultural Research StationNovartis
On 5 December 2004, the European Union ended a six-year moratorium when it approved imports of two varieties of genetically modified corn sold by Monsanto and its Swiss rival, Syngenta. In 2005, Syngenta opposed a Swiss ban on genetically engineered organisms. On 28 November 2005, Switzerland enacted a five-year ban on the farming of genetically modified crops, underscoring the problems facing the European Commission and biotech companies like Syngenta, Bayer and Monsanto as they try to overcome consumer doubts about safety. Syngenta's main competitors were Monsanto Company, BASF, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer CropScience and DuPont Pioneer.

Canola oil

canolacanola (rapeseed)canola (rapeseed) oil
A genetically engineered rapeseed that is tolerant to herbicide was first introduced to Canada in 1995 (Roundup Ready canola). A genetically modified variety developed in 1998 is considered to be the most disease- and drought-resistant canola variety to date. In 2009, 90% of the Canadian crop was herbicide-tolerant. As of 2005, 87% of the canola grown in the US was genetically modified. A 2010 study conducted in North Dakota found glyphosate- or glufosinate-resistance transgenes in 80% of wild natural rapeseed plants, and a few plants that were resistant to both herbicides.

Genetically modified food

genetically modified foodsgenetically modifiedGM food
List of genetically modified crops. Genetically modified crops. Genetically modified food controversies. Genetically modified organisms. California Proposition 37 (2012) - rejected labeling iniative. Chemophobia. Pharming (genetics) – use of genetically modified mammals to produce drugs. Regulation of the release of genetic modified organisms. StarLink corn recall in 2000.

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid

2,4-DHedonal2, 4-D
In 2010, Dow published that it had created genetically modified soybeans made resistant to 2,4-D by insertion of a bacterial aryloxyalkanoate dioxygenase gene, aad1. Dow intended it to be used as an alternative or complement to Roundup Ready crops due to the increasing prevalence of glyphosate-resistant weeds. As of April 2014, genetically modified maize and soybeans resistant to 2,4-D and glyphosate have been approved in Canada. In September 2014, the USDA also approved Dow's maize and soybeans, and in October, the EPA registered the "Enlist Duo" herbicide containing 2,4-D and glyphosate.

Genetically modified organism

GMOgenetically modified organismsgenetically modified
Its socioeconomic spread has been more even, with approximately 54% of worldwide GM crops grown in developing countries in 2013. Although doubts have been raised, most studies have found growing GM crops to be beneficial to farmers through decreased pesticide use as well as increased crop yield and farm profit. The majority of GM crops have been modified to be resistant to selected herbicides, usually a glyphosate or glufosinate based one. Genetically modified crops engineered to resist herbicides are now more available than conventionally bred resistant varieties; in the USA 93% of soybeans and most of the GM maize grown is glyphosate tolerant.

Roundup (herbicide)

RoundupDewayne Johnsonround-up
Roundup is the brand name of a systemic, broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide originally produced by Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. As of 2009, sales of Roundup herbicides still represented about 10 percent of Monsanto's revenue despite competition from Chinese producers of other glyphosate-based herbicides. The overall Roundup line of products, which includes genetically modified seeds, represented about half of Monsanto's yearly revenue. The product is marketed to consumers by Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.


cornZea mayscorn (maize)
Often the varieties have been genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate or to provide protection against natural pests. Glyphosate is an herbicide which kills all plants except those with genetic tolerance. This genetic tolerance is very rarely found in nature. In the midwestern United States, low-till or no-till farming techniques are usually used. In low-till, fields are covered once, maybe twice, with a tillage implement either ahead of crop planting or after the previous harvest. The fields are planted and fertilized. Weeds are controlled through the use of herbicides, and no cultivation tillage is done during the growing season.

Genetic engineering

genetically engineeredgenetically modifiedgenetic modification
One of the best-known and controversial applications of genetic engineering is the creation and use of genetically modified crops or genetically modified livestock to produce genetically modified food. Crops have been developed to increase production, increase tolerance to abiotic stresses, alter the composition of the food, or to produce novel products. The first crops to be released commercially on a large scale provided protection from insect pests or tolerance to herbicides. Fungal and virus resistant crops have also been developed or are in development. This makes the insect and weed management of crops easier and can indirectly increase crop yield.

Pesticide resistance

insecticide resistanceresistanceherbicide resistance
In response to the rise in glyphosate resistance, farmers turned to other herbicides—applying several in a single season. In the United States, most midwestern and southern farmers continue to use glyphosate because it still controls most weed species, applying other herbicides, known as residuals, to deal with resistance. The use of multiple herbicides appears to have slowed the spread of glyphosate resistance. From 2005 through 2010 researchers discovered 13 different weed species that had developed resistance to glyphosate. From 2010-2014 only two more were discovered.

Genetically modified maize

genetically modified cornBt cornBt maize
On December 19, 2013 six Chinese citizens were indicted in Iowa on charges of plotting to steal genetically modified seeds worth tens of millions of dollars from Monsanto and DuPont. Mo Hailong, director of international business at the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co., part of the Beijing-based DBN Group, was accused of stealing trade secrets after he was found digging in an Iowa cornfield. Genetically modified food. Genetically modified crops. Genetically modified food controversies. List of approved varieties. GMO Safety - Overview on biosafety research projects on genetically modified maize funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


Herbicide-resistant seed has a gene implanted into its genome that allows the plants to tolerate exposure to herbicides, including glyphosate. These seeds allow the farmer to grow a crop that can be sprayed with herbicides to control weeds without harming the resistant crop. Herbicide-tolerant crops are used by farmers worldwide. With the increasing use of herbicide-tolerant crops, comes an increase in the use of glyphosate-based herbicide sprays. In some areas glyphosate resistant weeds have developed, causing farmers to switch to other herbicides.

Plant breeding

breedingplant breederplant biotechnology
The debate surrounding genetically modified food during the 1990s peaked in 1999 in terms of media coverage and risk perception, and continues today – for example, "Germany has thrown its weight behind a growing European mutiny over genetically modified crops by banning the planting of a widely grown pest-resistant corn variety." The debate encompasses the ecological impact of genetically modified plants, the safety of genetically modified food and concepts used for safety evaluation like substantial equivalence. Such concerns are not new to plant breeding.

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental Protection AgencyEPAU.S. Environmental Protection Agency
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization, cited research linking glyphosate, an ingredient of the weed killer Roundup manufactured by the chemical company Monsanto, to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In March 2017, the presiding judge in a litigation brought about by people who claim to have developed glyphosate-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma opened Monsanto emails and other documents related to the case, including email exchanges between the company and federal regulators.

International Agency for Research on Cancer

IARCInternational Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)Group 4
On 20 March 2015, IARC classified glyphosate, the most widely used weed killing substance in the world sold under the brand name of Roundup by Monsanto, as "probably carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2A). Subsequently, many national regulatory authorities underwent a reevaluation of the risk posed by the exposure to glyphosate. Regulators in Europe (ECHA, EFSA), Canada, Japan and New Zealand reported that the glyphosate was unlikely to pose any carcinogenic risk to humans. California put glyphosate on its list of unsafe chemicals. Since the publishing, IARC claimed it has suffered unprecedented large-scale attacks on its reputation from the agro-chemical industry.


Some farmers and researchers have expressed concern about herbicide resistance after the introduction of resistant crops. In the laboratory, researchers have demonstrated weed resistance to dicamba within three generations of exposure. Similar herbicide resistance weeds arose after the introduction of glyphosate-resistant crops (marketed as 'Roundup Ready'). Some weed species, like Amaranthus palmeri, have developed resistance to dicamba. Dicamba resistance in Bassia scoparia was discovered in 1994 and has not been explained by common modes of resistance such as absorption, translocation, or metabolism.


Bayer AGBayer CropScienceBayer HealthCare
In August 2018, two months after acquiring Monsanto, a U.S. jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a school groundskeeper who claimed his Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by regularly using Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide produced by Monsanto. Following the verdict Bayer's share price dropped by around 14% or $14 Billion in market capitalization. The company filed an appeal on 18 September 2018. It faces 8,700 similar lawsuits alleging Roundup caused cancer. The general consensus among national regulatory agencies, and the European Commission is that labeled usage of the herbicide poses no carcinogenic or genotoxic risk to humans.

Gilles-Éric Séralini

Gilles-Eric SeraliniGilles-Eric Séralini
On 19 September 2012, Séralini and his colleagues published a peer-reviewed paper funded by CRIIGIN titled "Long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize" in Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT). It involved a two-year study of genetically modified corn and the herbicide RoundUp fed to rats. At a press conference announcing his paper, Séralini emphasized the study's potential cancer implications. Photographs from the journal article of treated rats with large tumors were widely circulated in the press. In November 2013, the FCT editors retracted the paper, with the editor-in-chief saying that its results were inconclusive.


pesticidescrop sprayingchemical pesticides
Prominent families of herbicides include phenoxy and benzoic acid herbicides (e.g. 2,4-D), triazines (e.g., atrazine), ureas (e.g., diuron), and Chloroacetanilide (e.g., alachlor). Phenoxy compounds tend to selectively kill broad-leaf weeds rather than grasses. The phenoxy and benzoic acid herbicides function similar to plant growth hormones, and grow cells without normal cell division, crushing the plant's nutrient transport system. Triazines interfere with photosynthesis. Many commonly used pesticides are not included in these families, including glyphosate.


A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that promotes carcinogenesis, the formation of cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes. Several radioactive substances are considered carcinogens, but their carcinogenic activity is attributed to the radiation, for example gamma rays and alpha particles, which they emit. Common examples of non-radioactive carcinogens are inhaled asbestos, certain dioxins, and tobacco smoke. Although the public generally associates carcinogenicity with synthetic chemicals, it is equally likely to arise in both natural and synthetic substances.

European Commission

EU CommissionCommissionEC
Last Access 18 April 2013. Statue of Europe. Retrieved 10 October 2012.

European Union

The 'geographic' instruments provide aid through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI, €16.9 billion, 2007–2013), which must spend 95% of its budget on official development assistance (ODA), and from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which contains some relevant programmes. The European Development Fund (EDF, €22.7 billion for the period 2008–2013 and €30.5 billion for the period 2014-2020) is made up of voluntary contributions by member states, but there is pressure to merge the EDF into the budget-financed instruments to encourage increased contributions to match the 0.7% target and allow the European Parliament greater oversight.


soysoybeansGlycine max
Soybeans are one of the "biotech food" crops that have been genetically modified, and genetically modified soybeans are being used in an increasing number of products. In 1995, Monsanto company introduced glyphosate-tolerant soybeans that have been genetically modified to be resistant to Monsanto's glyphosate herbicides through substitution of the Agrobacterium sp. (strain CP4) gene EPSP (5-enolpyruvyl shikimic acid-3-phosphate) synthase. The substituted version is not sensitive to glyphosate. In 1997, about 8% of all soybeans cultivated for the commercial market in the United States were genetically modified. In 2010, the figure was 93%.

Sugar beet

sugar beetsbeet sugarsugarbeet
Other economically important members of the subfamily Chenopodioideae: In the United States, genetically modified sugar beets, engineered for resistance to glyphosate, a herbicide marketed as Roundup, were developed by Monsanto as a genetically modified crop. In 2005, the US Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) deregulated glyphosate-resistant sugar beets after it conducted an environmental assessment and determined glyphosate-resistant sugar beets were highly unlikely to become a plant pest.

Genetically modified sugar beet

Sugar Beetglyphosate-resistant sugar beetgenetically modified
In July 2012, after completing an environmental impact assessment and a plant pest risk assessment the USDA deregulated Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets. In 2011, some growers of chard seed in Oregon have raised concerns about the possibility of cross-pollination with GM sugar beets via windblown pollen. As with other glyphosate-resistant crops, GM sugar beet farming may contribute to the growing number of glyphosate-resistant weeds. GM Corn, GM soybeans and GM cotton are grown on many times the acreage devoted to sugar beets and these crops are most affected. Genetically modified food. Genetically modified crops. Genetically modified food controversies.