bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, November 29, 2004

Latest study sees no harm in GM crops

The latest UK research on GM (Genetically Modified) crops has found no evidence that they harm the environment.

The Bright Link Project (pdf leaflet) is a four-year study on relatively large plots (0.25-0.5 hectares) studied GM winter rape and sugar beet (tolerant to certain herbicides) grown in agricultural rotation patterns. The results are then compared to plots of conventional plants and the numbers and diversity of weed seeds left in soil analyzed. The Project is backed by the UK Government and funded by biotech companies.

The Project concluded that the GM varieties, used in this way, did not deplete the soil of weed seeds needed by many birds and other wildlife.

The Bright study appears to contradict another major trial, the Farm-Scale Evaluations or FSEs, held earlier this year which found that two GM varieties, a sugar beet and a spring rape, were more damaging to biodiversity than conventional crops.

Meantime, the UK Government has made it clear there is little prospect of GM crops being introduced into the UK in the short-term.

The European Union stance is that any member states' decisions on GMs should be driven by scientific results rather than public opinion -- an interesting stance for a political body.


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