Canola was developed in the 1970s through conventional breeding of the rapeseed plant. Genetically modified versions of canola became available in the late 1990s. The plant is primarily insect pollinated, though canola pollen can travel great distances by wind.

Canola seed contains about 45% oil content and that is the primary market for canola growers1. Once the oil is pressed from the seed, the remaining canola meal is often added to animal feed.

Herbicide Tolerant Insect resistant Disease resistant


Some varieties of canola have been genetically modified to produce higher levels of laurate and oleic acid to make the properties of the resulting canola oil better suited for food manufacturing2.


Canada (95% of canola acreage in 2018) 3
United States (94% of canola acreage in 2014)4

  1. “Seed, Meal and Oil.” Canola. U.S. Canola Association, n.d. Web. 
  2. “Canola.” Biotech Crops Backgrounders. International Service for the Acquisition Of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), n.d. Web.
  3. Bradford, Harvey. “Canada Oilseeds and Products Annual 2019 Gain Report.” United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, 2019. Web.
  4. James, Clive. 2014. Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2014. ISAAA Brief  No. 49. ISAAA: Ithaca, NY. 18. Print.