The question, GM crops good or bad please discuss.

We were scanning through the paper at the weekend when we came across an article about GM crops. This Scotsman article suggested that that was risk involved in growing GM crops, not quite sure if this risk was an economic risk due to other countries refusing to import GM crops. Or whether it was a risk of cross contamination from GM crops to traditional crops. So I decided to hit the trusty the Internet for an answer.

Below are the kind of not quite definitive answers I came across.

Excerpt from the Scotsman article.

Let’s look at the facts: traditionally, the EU has imported up to six million tonnes of maize from the US each year. However, that figure fell dramatically last year because it is becoming increasingly difficult to source non-GM maize.

In addition shippers are not prepared to take the risk of importing non-GM maize from the US in case it may have been subject to cross-contamination. Were this to happen, the entire cargo would be rendered virtually worthless.

The GM issue was raised on Tuesday at a media briefing chaired by Mike Russell, the environment minister at Holyrood. He once again trotted out the official SNP line that the cultivation of GM crops would harm the green image of Scotland.

Sometime soon politicians are going to have to grasp the subject of GM crops in a much more rational manner – it will not go away and all the while the EU is being left behind the rest of the world.

However, attitudes appear to be changing, according to a recent European barometer survey. Just 20 per cent of all Europeans are seriously worried about GM compared to 24 per cent in 2004 while 80 per cent of the respondents stated that they had no qualms about farmers growing GM crops.

Sorry no link to the New Scientist so here’s the piece in full.

An analysis of rice varieties shows that crops bred conventionally have greater “unintentional” changes — changes in genes not targeted during breeding — than crops made by genetic modification. This means, the researchers suggest, that conventional plants should be treated no differently to GM crops when it comes to safety assessments (proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10. 1073/PNAS. 0707881105).

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