Here's a list, ordered by year, of some of the non-GM successes we have come across. They include allergen-free peanuts, striga-resistant cowpeas, salt-resistant wheat, beta-carotene rich sweet potatoes, virus-resistant cassavas - exactly the kind of developments that GM is typically claimed to be necessary to achieve.
Smallholder farmers in Mozambique are growing nutritious and lucrative varieties of orange-fleshed sweet potato, which are are high vitamin, flood-resistant and produce double normal yields (December 2014)
Drought tolerant maize varieties ready (January 2014)
New disease-resistant pea lines developed (November 2013)
Rainbow-coloured corn bred from old varieties (October 2013)
Rice gene discovered that triples yields in drought (August 2013) – GM was used as a research tool but the end-product rice was developed using marker assisted selection (MAS)
Hybrid crops without the GM – to resist effects of climate change and give higher yield (August 2013)
Cowpeas bred for extra-early maturity, high protein and high yield potential with resistance to major diseases and aphids, as well as high levels of tolerance to heat and drought, for tropical and subtropical countries (April 2013)
Wild parent spawns super salt-tolerant rice (April 2013)
Baby rice plant may be breakthrough in salty farming (April 2013)
Purple anthocyanin-rich anti-cancer tomato – seeds are actually on the market (January 2012)
Orange beta carotene-enriched sweet potato a hit in Mozambique (November 2011)
Non-GM anti-cancer purple tomato (December 2011)
"Extended life" rice could quadruple yields, cut costs (September 2011)
Dow launches drought-resistant corn (January 2011)
High-iron pearl millet update (August 2011)
Orange sweet potatoes not just for Africa (August 2011)
Syngenta launches drought-resistant corn (December 2010)
Non-GM beta-carotene enriched orange maize (September 2010)
Designed to help vitamin A deficiency. Study on this maize:
Vitamin A equivalence of the β-carotene in β-carotene–biofortified maize porridge consumed by women. Shanshan Li, Angela Nugroho, Torbert Rocheford and Wendy S White. 2010. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Aflatoxin-resistant maize lines developed by US scientists (September 2010)
Corn lines resist aflatoxins (September 2010)
Drought-tolerant maize to benefit Africa (August 2010)
Report on the maize:
Potential impact of investments in drought tolerant maize in Africa. La Rovere, R., G. Kostandini, T. Abdoulaye, J. Dixon, W. Mwangi, Z. Guo, and M. Bänziger. 2010. CIMMYT, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Researchers develop non-GM papaya resistant to ringspot virus (July 2010)
Despite claims that only GM could deliver this, researchers have developed a papaya resistant to ringspot virus through conventional breeding. The researchers comment, "Application of these results should lead to restoration of the papaya industry in virus-infested regions of the Philippines and worldwide." GM proponents have repeatedly promoted GM ringspot virus-resistant papayas as the only solution to the problem.
Marker assisted selection used to develop wheat streak mosaic virus-resistant wheat (August 2010)
Study on the wheat: A dominant gene for resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus in winter wheat line CO960293-2. Lu, Huangjun, Jacob Price, J. Rudd, R. Devkota, and C. Rush. 2011. Crop Sci 5: 5–12.
Insect- and pest-resistant super wheat (August 2010)
Blight-resistant potato means no need for GM (June 2010)
Making Kenyan maize safe from deadly aflatoxins with non-GM biocontrol (June 2010)
Natural, safe, cost-effective
US scientists develop non-GM low-allergy peanuts (June 2010)
Scientists in the US are developing "low-allergy" peanuts, offering hope to thousands of people with allergies associated with the popular seed.
Drought-tolerant and striga-resistant non-GM maize released in Ghana (April 2010)
Ghana has released four Quality Protein Maize varieties tolerant of drought and resistant to striga hermontica - a parasitic weed that reduces maize yield - to farmers to boost maize production in drought-prone areas of the country.
Salt-tolerant non-GM wheat developed in Australia (April 2010)
CSIRO researchers have developed a salt tolerant durum wheat that yields 25 per cent more grain than the parent variety in saline soils.
US scientists develop non-GM high-yielding tomato (March 2010)
A mutation in a single gene turned hybrid tomato plants into super producers capable of generating more and much sweeter fruit without genetic engineering.
High yielding, multi-disease resistant, non-GM bean success in Rwanda (February 2010)
An excellent example of the success of traditional plant breeding practices - multi-disease resistant, very high yielding, no mention of GM and apparently freely distributed without IP ties. What would the GM lobby give for one good success story like this?
USDA scientists to release non-GM drought-resistant soybean line (February 2010)
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service plant geneticist Tommy Carter, Ph.D., and his team of researchers plan to soon release a soybean breeding line offering drought-tolerant traits.
Non-GM drought-tolerant pigeon peas released in Kenya (February 2010)
Faced with increasingly unreliable rains, farmers in Kenya's eastern district of Mbeere South have started growing drought-tolerant crops to meet their food and subsistence needs instead of the staple maize.
Scientists closer to developing dual-resistance non-GM cassava (August 2009)
IITA scientists are a step closer to making a breakthrough in developing cassava that is resistant to both the Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and the Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD).
Farmers in rain-deficit Gujarat (India) opt for non-Bt cotton (September 2009)
When India is moving toward 100 per cent Bt cotton regime, some winds of change has been seen in Gujarat, the leading cotton producer in the country. Due to the deficient monsoon, farmers have taken to cotton over rain-fed crops like groundnut, to the extent that the area under cotton cultivation has increased by nearly two lakh hectares. Significantly, it’s the conventional (non-Bt) cotton varieties and not the Bt cotton variety that have caught the attention of farmers this season.
UK scientists breed non-GM purple potato (January 2009)
They have remained an unchanging staple of the British diet for generations with hardly a nod to more health-conscious consumers. But scientists may now have come up with the perfect chip, which not only tastes good, but could prolong your life.
German potato breeder launches non-GM high amylopectin potatoes (September 2009)
Starch from these potatoes contains a substance called amylopectin that will be used in food, paper, adhesives, textiles and building applications.
Cibus Global to develop non-GM herbicide tolerant potatoes (December 2009)
A global biotech firm has announced plans to use its patented technology to develop potatoes more tolerant of certain herbicides and less susceptible to blackspot bruise.
US scientists breed non-GM scab-resistant apple (January 2009)
A new, late-ripening apple named WineCrisp which carries a gene for scab resistance was developed over the past 20 plus years through classical breeding techniques, not genetic engineering. License to propagate trees will be made available to nurseries through the University of Illinois.
US researchers develop pest-resistant pepper (September 2009)
A new red-fruited habanero is the latest pepper with resistance to root-knot nematodes to be released by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.
US scientists develop pest-resistant chickpea (August 2009)
Chickpeas, high in protein, fiber and other nutrients, are important legume crops the world over. But humans aren't the only consumers: the larval stage of the beet armyworm moth likes to eat the crop's leaves. But new lines of resistant chickpeas developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their collaborators could put the kibosh on this crop-damaging pest's voracious appetite, and potentially save on chemical insecticides used to fight it.
Uganda: new drought-tolerant non-GM rice variety (October 2009)
Flood-resistant non-GM rice (February 2009)
At the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), scientists have developed a rice variety with high tolerance to submersion under water for extended periods.
New non-GM rice strain could help atopic dermatitis and diabetes (December 2009)
The rice contains highly concentrated Cyanidin-3-Glucoside or C3G which is known to ease symptoms of atopic dermatitis and diabetes.
Canadian farmers opposed to GM wheat: survey (June 2009)
Canadian farmers oppose the introduction of genetically modified wheat until market conditions change, a Canadian Wheat Board survey has found.
Syngenta not actively pursuing biotech wheat (Feb 2009)
Syngenta AG, the world's largest agrochemical group, is not actively pursuing genetically modified wheat because of consumer resistance, Chief Executive Michael Mack told Reuters on Thursday.
Dow AgroSciences, World Wide Wheat agree to collaborate on non-GM wheat (June 2009)
Dow AgroSciences announced today a collaboration agreement for the development and commercialization of advanced germplasm and traits in wheat.
More US farmers planting non-GM soybeans in 2009 (March 2009)
For the first time since 1996, acres of Roundup Ready genetically modified soybeans could drop as more farmers decide to plant non-GMO.
US non-GMO soybean acreage increased by 1 million in 2009 (July/August 2009)
US farmers planted one million more acres of non-GMO soybeans in 2009 than 2008, increasing to 6.97 million acres compared to 5.96 million acres the previous year.
New US non-GM soybean breeding program (November 2009)
Growing demand for soybeans that have not been altered genetically has led to a fork in the road for the bean-breeding program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Exporting non-GE soybeans from Ohio (USA) is expanding business (September 2009)
US scientists develop non-GE soybean line resisting key nematode (December 2009)
Enough non-GM beet seed available in the USA (November, 2009)
Farmers still hope to plant Roundup Ready sugar beets next year, but if a federal judge bans their use there might be enough conventional beet seed stockpiled in the United States to get by for a year.
eMerge Genetics (USA) launches ”non-GMO revolution” (April 2009)
eMerge Genetics aims to develop high-quality soybean varieties for food use to meet growing demand for non-GM soybeans in US and overseas .
Modern non-GM breeding “has a brilliant future” – Newsweek (June 2009)
The world's biggest biotech corporations have deployed the latest in genetic science to pump up yield, ward off crop disease, make food more nutritious and fundamentally reengineer what we plant and eat, and no one is complaining.
Marker assisted breeding a ’safe alternative’ to IRRI’s GMO rice program (November 2009)
Greenpeace called on the International Rice Research Institute to abandon its genetic engineering program as the environmental activist group offers marker assisted breeding as a safe alternative to bioengineering.
Midwest farmers grow aphid-resistant soybean (August 2009)
Virus-resistant snap beans in pipeline (August 2009)
Biggest Brazil soy state loses taste for GM soy seed (March 2009)
Farmers in Brazil's Mato Grosso, the country's top soy state, are shunning once-heralded, genetically modified soy varieties in favor of conventional seeds after the hi-tech type showed poor yields.
High beta-carotene non-GM tomatoes for West Africa (March 2009)
The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center - The World Vegetable Center has released the results of the evaluation of 20 tomato lines for adoption in West Africa. The testing was a part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project on Vegetable Breeding and Seed Systems for Poverty Alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa.
IITA releases non-GM high-yielding Striga-resistant cowpeas (March 2009)
Resource-poor cowpea farmers in sub-Saharan Africa have seen their profits jump by 55 per cent thanks to improved dual-purpose cowpea varieties developed and introduced by IITA and its national partners in Nigeria. Paul Amaza, IITA Agricultural Economist, says that farmers who use traditional varieties earn about US$ 251 per hectare, while those who are growing the improved cowpea are getting US$390, or US$139 more, per hectare with proper crop management.
West Africans hope to produce iron-tolerant non-GM rice (March 2009)
Agricultural researchers in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria and are preparing field tests on some 80 varieties of rice designed to survive – and even thrive – in the iron-rich soils of West Africa.
Brazil to debut non-GM rust-resistant soy (May 2009)
Brazil is set to begin commercial planting of a soybean variety with a gene that makes it resistant to the devastating Asian rust fungus, which is beginning to develop tolerance to conventional fungicides.
Non-GM corn offers solution to modern climate challenges (April 2009)
One solution to the challenges of feeding the world may come – not from the labs of genetic engineers – but from the timeless wisdom of Native Americans and a dedicated corn breeder from Montana.
Ugandan scientists announce development of wilt resistant non-GE coffee varieties (April 2009)
Twelve years ago, Coffee Research Centre (COREC) scientists embarked on developing a coffee variety resistant to the Coffee Wilt Disease (CWD), which attacks Robusta coffee. Today, they report a major breakthrough in the variety’s development. A total of 24 lines of Curtimors (dwarf coffee) are now under final field tests before they are released to farmers.
US researchers develop non-GM pest-resistant potato (March 2009)
Despite their microscopic size, Columbia root-knot nematodes (CRN) have potential to inflict huge losses—about $40 million annually—by tunneling into potatoes to feed. But this level of loss isn’t likely to happen, thanks to fumigants growers now use—at a cost of $20 million annually.
Nigeria to roll out fungus-resistant non-GM soybean crops (August 2009)
A variety of soybean resistant to a devastating Asian rust will soon be widely available in West and Central Africa. The rust, a fungal disease that entered Africa in 1996, can wipe out 80 per cent of infected crops.
USDA scientists release lettuce resistant to bacterial leaf-spot (April 2009)
Seven new iceberg lettuce breeding lines with resistance to bacterial leaf spot (BLS) have been released by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.
USDA scientists release lettuce resistant to corky root disease (June 2009)
Three new leaf lettuce breeding lines with resistance to corky root, a serious disease of lettuce, have been released by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
More than 50 new non-GM drought-tolerant maize varieties released for African farmers (April 2009)
Sub-Saharan Africa needs concerted efforts to improve the production of maize, its most important cereal. Two Centers supported by the CGIAR — the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) — have found a way to achieve precisely that.
African scientists announce non-GM breakthrough in battle against aflatoxin ( May 2009)
Scientists of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Kenya, the United States Department for Agriculture (USDA) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Nigeria, have developed a safe and natural method that could drastically cut aflatoxin contamination in African food crops by as much as 99 per cent.
Non-GM method to control aflatoxin in maize works well in Nigeria (June 2009)
The elimination of deadly aflatoxin, which contaminates food crops in Sub-Saharan Africa, is a step closer now scientists have shown that a control method works well in large-scale field trials.
Novel upland non-GM drought-tolerant rice variety released in Jharkhand, India (May 2009)
A novel upland rice variety, Birsa Vikas Dhan 111 (PY 84), has recently been released in the Indian state of Jharkhand. It was bred using marker-assisted backcrossing with selection for multiple quantitative trait loci (QTL) for improved root growth to improve its performance under drought conditions. It is an early maturing, drought tolerant and high yielding variety with good grain quality suitable for the direct seeded uplands and transplanted medium lands of Eastern India.
Breeder of non-GM drought-tolerant and striga-resistant sorghum wins World Food Price (2009)
The 2009 World Food Prize was awarded to Dr Gebisa Ejeta of Ethiopia, whose sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and the devastating Striga weed increased the production and availability of one of the world’s five principal grains and enhanced the food supply of hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.
African farmers develop new type of rice well-adapted to poor soils (July 2009)
Rice farmers in West Africa have developed a new type of rice in the last few years, Wageningen researchers have found out. This has come about through spontaneous cross-breeding in the field between African and Asian rice cultivars.
ICRISAT develops climate change-ready varieties (June 2009)
When the world gets warmer with climate change, the dryland tracts will become even drier, making it more difficult for the farmers to grow crops in this region. The improved crops developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) and partners are able to withstand severe droughts, tolerate higher temperatures and mature early, enabling the farmers to be ready to meet the challenges of climate change.
Arcadia Biosciences develops non-GM herbicide-tolerant wheat technology (January 2008)
Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. announced it has reached a research and commercial development agreement with Targeted Growth, Inc. (TGI) for the development of herbicide-tolerant wheat.
Conventional soybeans offer high yield at lower cost (September 2008)
Conventional soybean varieties are making a comeback. Lower seed and weed-control costs, price incentives at the grain elevator and yields that rival Roundup Ready beans have renewed interest in conventional varieties, said Grover Shannon, an agronomist at the University of Missouri Delta Research Center in the Missouri Bootheel.
IITA (Nigeria) launches new non-GM striga-resistant maize varieties (December 2008)
Maize farmers in West and Central Africa (WCA) could soon enjoy increased harvests and reduced crop losses due to Striga with the introduction of two new resistant varieties — TZLComp1Syn W-1 (Sammaz 16) and IWDC2SynF2 (Sammaz 15) — developed by IITA in partnership with the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, Nigeria.
Non-pesticide, non-GM cotton pest management success in India (June 2007)
A relatively low-tech approach to managing pests promises to help hundreds of thousands of cotton farmers across Asia raise yields and reduce environmental contamination.
UK: Non-GM crop science gets GBP13m boost (January 2007)
UK crop scientists have been awarded a GBP13.3m boost in funding to carry out research aimed at delivering benefits for farmers and consumers. Researchers say they will not be producing GM crops. Prof David Pink, from Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, whose team has been awarded GBP500,000 to identify genes in broccoli that will extend its shelf life and maintain its nutritional value for longer, said, "We are not going down that [GM] route because GM is not acceptable at the moment, and not acceptable to our plant breeding partner."
Non-GM drought-resistant rice in pipeline (August 2007)
Japanese researchers have made progress in breeding non-GM drought-resistant rice, intended for planting in Africa and other dry regions.
GM drought tolerant maize way behind non-GM (June 2007)
During March 2007, the South African authorities gave Monsanto permission to conduct GM drought tolerant maize field trials in South Africa. The African Centre for Biosafety released a report on the issue, pointing out that drought tolerance is at least 8-10 years away from commercialisation. Nevertheless, GM drought tolerant crops are being used as PR tools by biotech lobbyists to promote acceptance of GM crops, expand existing markets and develop new markets. Finally, the report points out that traditional breeding, marker assisted selection, and building up organic content of the soil are proven methods of dealing with drought.
Philippines new non-GM drought-resistant corn (October 2007)
A Philippines scientist has developed a new non-GM corn variety that was able to survive a drought for 29 days.
Indigenous rice better than GM for dealing with stress (October 2007)
A New Delhi-based NGO, together with farmers from nine Indian states, has developed a register documenting over 2,000 indigenous rice varieties. They say GM rice strains are not only costly to cultivate but also are a poor match to the native strains in fighting pests, diseases and environmental fluctuations.
Body blow to grain borer (October 2007)
The larger grain borer is taking a beating from CIMMYT (Internation Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) breeders in Kenya as a new non-GM African maize withstands the onslaught of one of the most damaging pests.
Non-GM process for allergen-free peanuts (July 2007)
n agricultural researcher at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has developed a simple process to make allergen-free peanuts. The new process – believed to be a first for food science – could provide relief to millions of peanut allergy sufferers, and be an enormous boon to the entire peanut industry.
Non-GM approach to Striga-resistant cowpeas in Africa (July 2007)
U.Va. biologist Michael Timko helps Africans breed disease-resistant plant.
Non-GM virus-resistant cassava for East and Central Africa (June 2007)
Efforts by the Crop Crisis Control Project (C3P) to mitigate the effects of cassava mosaic virus disease and banana xanthomonas wilt (BXW) in six countries of East and Central Africa are impacting positively on the lives of thousands of farmers in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Non-GM technology reduces aflatoxins in maize in Nigeria (July/August 2007)
Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have developed a safe and effective method for biological control of aflatoxins. These are toxic chemicals of fungal origin, which contaminate maize and other major food crops, posing a chronic threat to human health in sub-Saharan Africa.
Iron-fortified non-GM maize cuts anaemia rates in children (May 2007)
Fortifying cereals with a type of iron supplement reduces anaemia, iron-deficiency anaemia and general iron deficiency in children in developing countries, according to new research.
Austro-Indian non-GM research cuts 50% of cotton insecticides, adds 75% profitability (June 2007)
A relatively low-tech approach to managing pests promises to help hundreds of thousands of cotton farmers across Asia raise yields and reduce environmental contamination.
Molecular marker research could feed the world without GM (October 2007)
The work of a Kansas State University professor is challenging the assumption that genetically engineered plants are the great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture and the only efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population.
New non-GM drought-resistant corn (October 2007)
For an ordinary farmer, only a miracle can make a corn plant survive for almost a month under an unusually intense heat and without a single drop of water. But a scientific breakthrough practically made that history after local farmers here witnessed for themselves how a new corn variety developed by a local biotechnology company was able to survive a drought for 29 straight days.
Dutch researcher bred non-GM fungi-resistant tomato (March 2007)
Tomato growers are likely to soon be able to cultivate new tomato varieties without having to use pesticides against grey mould (Botrytis cinerea). This is the conclusion of the STW-sponsored thesis by Richard Finkers from Wageningen University, with which he hopes to earn his doctorate on 3 April 2007. Finkers designed highly efficient methods whereby tomato varieties can be resistant to grey mould. The leading company De Ruiter Seeds is already applying these methods in its breeding programme.
Texas-sized sorghum: New non-GM solution for fuel? (April 2007)
Big Sorghum is moving up on Big Oil in Texas. Ten-foot tall stalks of bioenergy sorghum, planted on thousands of acres, could march across Texas just as oil derricks once did, replacing black gold with green gold.
Non-GM tomatoes made to drink less water (May 2007)
Biofuels derived from plant cellulose - found in the tall sorghum among other biomass alternatives - offers an energy future that is at once sustainable, environmentally responsible, and just around the corner.
U.S. grape researcher breeds non-GM vines resistant to Pierce's Disease (April 2007)
Vinifera vines crossbred with resistant American species may someday yield good-tasting wines, but are better for blending for now.
Non-GM method to produce virus-resistant brassica crops (November 2007)
cientists have identified a new way to breed brassicas, which include broccoli, cabbage and oilseed rape, resistant to a damaging virus.
High-yielding, soybean cyst nematodes-resistant non-GM soybeans (July 2007)
Soybean growers now have more options when selecting soybean varieties that have high yield potential and the ability to stave off soybean cyst nematodes. SCN, a tiny worm that infests the soil in many fields in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest, steals soybean yields.
Non-GM success in combating cassava mosaic virus in Africa (October 2007)
Global plant genetics policy and research unite with emergency operations against lethal crop disease.
Non-GM beans developed for harsh Mediterranean conditions (November 2007)
Gates Foundation supports non-GM beta carotene-rich sweet potato in Africa (April 2006)
HarvestPlus has received a US$ 6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to introduce a nutritionally improved staple food - orange-fleshed sweet potato - into the diets of the undernourished in East Africa.
Zambia: better non-GM maize harvests (June 2005)
Although drought-prone Zambia is still facing many problems, huge improvements have been reported in its maize harvests - its main staple crop. A report from Inter Press Service notes, "... production changed dramatically after President Levy Mwanawasa took over from Frederick Chiluba in 2001.... [He] promoted innovations like mixed farming and conservation farming. Mwanawasa rejected GM maize and encouraged the growing of non-GM maize, resulting in bumper harvests for the past three consecutive years." When the Zambian government rejected GM maize in 2002, there were calls from the US Ambassador to the FAO for its leaders to be tried "for the highest crimes against humanity in the highest courts of the world."
New salt-tolerant wheat set to bring life to "dead" farmland (July 2004)
Scientists have developed a non-GM salt-tolerant wheat which could allow farmers to crop a third of the 1.8 million hectares of agricultural land lost to salinity across Australia's wheat belt.