Question About GMO Peanuts Peanut Notes No. 225 2020
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Why are the currently no GMO peanut varieties on the market? I really enjoyed David Jordan’s lecture on peanut production so I looked around the internet for a little while this weekend to find more information about peanut production. As a Crop Biotechnology major, I naturally searched GM peanut varieties. However, everything I found was traditionally bred. With GM corn and soybean products used widely throughout the U.S., I assumed GM peanuts were already used in a variety of products. For what reasons are there no GM peanuts or GM peanut -based products on the market?
Peanuts are consumed directly by people and the peanut industry as a whole is trying to capture more markets around the world, including Europe. For that reason, and knowing the mixed feelings about GMOs by the general public and the possible loss of potential markets, the industry has decided not to go in the GMO direction. There are experimental peanut lines that are resistant to Sclerotinia Blight and TSWV but they are on the shelf so to speak and will not be used as long as the industry perceives that markets could be lost because people fear or have a philosophy against this approach to variety improvement. Like other GMO crops, the general opinion by the scientific community associated with peanuts is that there is not a safety issue. With other issues to deal with including the peanut allergy already a challenge, there is no interest in adding one more big unknown.