There are many different types of genetically modified organisms (animals, plants, bacteria and yeast) and various types of transformation technologies and objectives (medical, scientific, industrial, etc.) but the debate has often been centred on GM foods. These are the only ones examined in this summary which outlines the main points of this complex debate.
Since the first GM plant was marketed in 1996 – a tomato -, the surface area of GM crops has continiously increased. In 2007, there were 114 million hectares of transgenic plants being cultivated worldwide. There are now 23 countries growing them. The United States produces the most GMOs in the world with 57,7 millions hectares (50% of the world surface area cultivated with GMOs). It is followed by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India and China. In Europe, Spain is the country with the most GM crops 50 000 hectares of GM crops grown in 2007. (1)