• agriculture;
  • biodiversity;
  • biotechnology;
  • development;
  • green revolution;
  • intellectual property

ABSTRACT. Genetic engineering is often depicted as a breakthrough solution to hunger and environmental problems in agriculture. Such claims encourage the further shift of public resources toward molecular sciences, globalized intellectual property rights, and relaxed biotechnology regulation. However, focusing on transgenic crops is a risky and inadequate response to socioeconomic and ecological challenges. The search for a universal, technological solution disregards the complex geographies of food production and trade. This article challenges claims that crop genetic engineering represents a new direction in agriculture, that transgenic crops have performed well, and that the regulatory approaches used in the United States or Europe are universally applicable. It outlines three geographies of difference that distinguish agriculture in the global North from farming in most of the global South. Those differences point to the need for more place-specific, multifaceted, and farmer-centered approaches to agricultural productivity and sustainability, approaches to which geographers have much to contribute.