Stacked GMOs are those containing more than one gene genetically engineered into a crop plant. A controversial stacked GMO, Smarstax containing 8 such genetically engineered genes, was commercially approved in the US, Canada, Japan and South Korea during 2009.

Stacked gene varieties are highly complex, posing new biosafety risks that outpace the capacity of regulatory systems. Since 2005 the global area under stacked GMOs has nearly trebled, to just under 30 million ha. If this rate of adoption continues, an area the size of Mozambique could be planted with them by 2015. Their research, development and ownership is also dominated by a handful of the world’s largest biotech companies. This drive for stacked GMOs is ostensibly for ‘climate ready’ crops to improve ‘food security’ and ‘climate adaptation’.

However, the increased profit margins of stacked GMOs, and the opportunities they will afford for the unprecedented patenting of lifeforms hints at an altogether more insidious motivation.

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