Herbicide Tolerant (HT) Crops - Applications and Concerns -

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Website designed and created by Austin Cruz and Stephanie Leyva for the Teen Biotech Challenge for 2012.

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Farmer holding some HT soybeans.

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Farmer spraying his field, possibly with herbicide to protect his field.

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As the worldwide population continues to soar to new levels, the Agricultural Industry needs to find ways to produce more food on less land and with less resources. Agricultural Biotechnology has become the leader in the industry, pumping out new technologies that make it easier to feed the world. One of these new technologies is genetically modifying crops so they can become resistant to certain herbicides so farmers can use a non-selective herbicide (a "universal" herbicide) on their fields and not kill their cash crops. This new crop technology is better known as an "HT crops".

What is an HT Crop?

Herbicide Tolerant crops, also known as HT crops, are genetically modified plant organisms that are coded for resistance to certain non-selective herbicides. These crops do this by either by breaking down the herbicide into a safer compound, refusing uptake of the herbicide or by becoming insensitive to it. Herbicide Tolerant crops have taken the agriculture industry by storm in the last decade, as usage of genetically modified seeds across the globe has increased tremendously. And the "field" is still growing - the major biotech companies are continually expanding their technology to apply to more and more crops and there is now also an increasing number of new companies that are finding new resistance traits to other herbicides.

Although traditional crops have evolved over thousands of years, they still have their negative aspects. One of the major cons of traditional crops is the lack of protection from weeds. Weeds destroy crop yields so farmers will make less money.  So in 1996, when Monsanto® came out with their new Round Up Ready Soybean Technology, farmers rejoiced in how much easier HT crops were to manage. HT crops also reduce crop injury, lower herbicide prices, higher crop yields, and reduced toxins in the soil. But Herbicide Tolerant crops also bring about a debate - are the economic, social and legal issues that coincide with HT crops worth the advantages. In this website you will not only learn more about the history of HT crops and the key players in bringing about the HT crop revolution, but also discuss  and also the advantages and disadvantages of this technology.

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