Monday, 16 June 2008

Benn says "yes" to GM crop trials.

"Our food, Our future!” say environmental protestors.

Hilary Benn(Secretary of State for the Environment) has agreed to let scientists at Leeds University conduct the trials over the next three years.

Since I wrote this post, Gordon Brown has declared today (19/6/08) that he wants the GM debate to reopen. He seems to be in favour of GM's (surprise, surprise),this is a sample of Gordon Brown's democracy in action-ie 'ignore overwhelming public opinion, and ignore the evidence for damage to health and environmental catastophe.'

There are two outdoor field trials taking place in the UK this year. The BASF potato trial at NIAB is a trial for blight resistance in GM potatos; a further trial for nematode resistance is taking place near Leeds, under the auspices of Leeds University Faculty of Biological Sciences.

Leeds University scientists have added a gene to the potatos’ roots that is designed to give it nematode resistance.

At the Cambridge site Rosie Perkins, a spokesperson for Earth First! UK said: "Today’s protest was staged to send a clear message to scientists, companies and politicians across the world; that message is that genetically modified food is not the answer to either climate change or world food shortages and we stand here today in solidarity with the many farmers and local food producers across the world who are speaking out against GM crops.....The GM trial at NIAB is being conducted under siege-like conditions with high levels of security, including a permanent security personnel presence, high metal fences, alarms and floodlights. The fact that this trial is taking place under such conditions clearly demonstrates the contempt in which the people of this country hold the development of these crops."

With reference to the Leeds crop trials, Pete Riley of ‘GM Freeze’ protest group is worried about the inclusion of a gene which confers resistance to the antibiotic neomycin, which he says could interfere with its medical effectiveness.

Joe Cummins from the Institute of Science in Society(ISIS) shares these concerns. He says that Britain’s ‘Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment’(ACRE) shows a disturbing bias towards GM technology and disregard for safety.

Ch. Narenda who covers agricultural issues for’’ reports Cummin’s views. The nptll gene is for resistance to the antibiotic neomycin, a member of the aminoglycoside family. The resistance to neomycin may be cross resistant to other members of the aminoglycoside family including kanamycin, streptomycin, gentamycin, and tobramycin all of which are used to treat humans or domestic animals.“He also said that they have prepared an extensive review which showed that horizontal transfer of transgenic DNA has indeed occurred, and that it has been greatly underestimated, hence, ‘There is little doubt that environmental antibiotic resistance will be significantly enhanced by planting crops modified with antibiotic resistance genes.’(

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