The amount of land being used to grow genetically modified crops ballooned 10% last year, as countries like Brazil and Argentina got in on the game. A full 10% of the world’s farmland now grows these so-called “biotech crops,” which were essentially non-existent 15 years ago, USA Today reports. Last year, biotech seeds were used in 29% of new corn plantings, 64% of cotton plantings, and a whopping 81% of soybean plantings.
The majority of these seeds, 61%, are designed to survive weed-killers like Roundup. Another 17% carry a gene that allows plants to effectively produce their own insecticide. The crops are convenient and cost-effective for farmers, but opponents fret that they could pose as-yet unknown dangers to the humans and animals who eat them. (Read more biotechnology stories.)