The Benefits of Biotech

6 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2004

See all articles by Gregory Conko

Gregory Conko

George Mason University Law & Economics Center


As the world's population grows, environmental stewardship will require science to find ways to produce more food on less land.

The rapidly expanding use of bio-engineered corn, cotton, and soybean varieties has increased yields, reduced the use of agricultural chemicals, and saved growers time, resources, and money. The increased productivity allows farmers to grow substantially more food and fiber on less land. However, numerous attempts have been made in recent years to increase the regulatory burden borne by the products of biotechnology - through both agency rulemaking and congressional legislation. All of those attempts have two things in common: They require regulators to consider only the risks of bio-engineered crops and not their benefits, and they hold gene-splicing to a standard of safety that could not possibly be met by non-biotech products and practices. Heightened regulation of certain high-risk plant varieties may indeed be warranted. But when biotechnology is evaluated on a level playing field, farmers, consumers, and regulators will find that it outshines its competitors.

Keywords: Population, environment, stewardship, biotech, bio-engineered crops, corn, soybeans, cotton, biotechnology, regulation, farms, farmers, competiton

JEL Classification: Q18, Q16, Q1, Q13, R52, L5

Suggested Citation

Conko, Gregory, The Benefits of Biotech. Available at SSRN:

Gregory Conko (Contact Author)

George Mason University Law & Economics Center ( email )

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