Genetically modified (GM) herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops have been largely adopted where they have been authorized. Nevertheless, they are fiercely criticized by some, notably because of the herbicide use associated with them. However, how much herbicide is applied to GMHT crops compared to conventional crops, and what impacts does the use of herbicide have? The paper first presents some factors explaining the predominance of GMHT crops. Then, trends in the use of herbicide for GM crops are studied in the case of the most widespread HT crop: HT soybean in the USA. The trends in the toxicity of herbicides applied to HT soybean are also addressed, as well as the appearance of glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds. Lastly, the paper examines the spread of GR weeds and its impact. How are farmers, weed scientists, and the industry coping with this development, and what are the prospects of glyphosate-tolerant crops given weed resistance? In conclusion, some issues of sustainability and innovation governance raised by genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops are discussed.
KEYWORDS Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), pesticide, herbicide-tolerant crop, crop protection, environment, weed, transgenic crop, innovation, technological change, sustainability, biotechnology, herbicide, glyphosate.