A Long-term Analysis of a Controversial GMO Crop

Glenn Stone, professor of sociocultural anthropology and environmental studies, both in Arts & Sciences


I began ethnographic research in India’s cotton belt at a crucial moment in the history of agricultural biotechnology. Genetically modified (GM) crops had appeared in the mid-1990s and were being adopted by industrial farmers in a few developed countries. But interest was rising in the possibility that GM crops could benefit smallholders in developing countries.

Hopes for a GM crop revolution were particularly high in India. By the late 1990s India’s cotton sector was famously troubled – plagued by pest infestations, rampant insecticide use, farmer debt and suicide. One of the new GM crops was Bt cotton, which produced its own bio-insecticide.

Read the full piece in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

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