September 19, 2011


Britain allows GM wheat trial in 2012, 2013



A research trial to take place in 2012 and 2013 on genetically modified wheat has been permitted by Britain, according to the country's farm ministry on Friday (Sep 16).


"The research is on wheat that has been genetically modified to resist aphids, which are a pest in wheat crops," the ministry said.


Genetically modified crops are grown widely in many parts of the world including the US, Argentina, China and Brazil.


There are, however, currently no GM crops grown commercially in Britain where they have struggled to win consumer acceptance.


Some scientists backed the government's decision.


"We need to remain open-minded to every technology if we are going to successfully tackle the challenges of food security," said Tina Barsby, Chief Executive of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.


"This experiment will allow British scientists to properly evaluate resistance to an agricultural pest that is highly destructive to wheat stocks worldwide."


The decision was condemned, however, by a leading anti-GM group.


"The key question ministers need to answer is why they are funding research into GM wheat for which there is no market in the UK, Europe or anywhere else when other areas of proven, less risky agricultural research, such as agroecology, are crying out for additional funds," Peter Riley of GM Freeze said.