Defend Science: GM trials at Rothamsted Research

2nd May 2012

This morning scientists from Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire have made a public appeal to activists not to destroy their field trials of GM wheat. Take Back the Flour is organising a protest for 27th May against a trial in which wheat modified with a gene from peppermint expresses an alarm pheromone that aphids associate with danger.

The trial has potential benefits to farmers, food security, and the environment.

Last week Rothamsted scientists wrote a letter to Take Back the Flour, the group responsible for organising the protests, requesting that they entered into a dialogue rather than sought to destroy experiments.

The Society of Biology strongly endorses this attitude of engaging in debate, and is keen to promote understanding of the potential benefits of this trial. Dr Mark Downs FSB from the Society of Biology says: “We support the use of GM technology when properly regulated and tested.

“Trials such as this are essential if we are to determine whether specific GM crop varieties are effective. Tight regulations control GM research to ensure there are no safety risks resulting from the trials, and we therefore support the field testing of GM crops. We believe the results have potential value for food security around the world.

“The malicious destruction of publicly funded research that has been proposed is misguided and unacceptable.”

To uproot an unfinished trial would be an injustice not just to the careful scientists who have purposefully set about asking important questions and the farmers who could benefit, but to the vast majority of the rational public who deserve to hear the answers.

There is the chance to add your support with Sense About Science.


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