Rothamsted Researchers urge protestors not to destroy years of work

2nd May 2012

Scientists developing genetically modified wheat at Rothamsted Research are asking campaigners not to ruin their experimental plots, but to begin a dialogue instead.

John Pickett Scientific Leader of Chemical Ecology at Rothamsted Research explained that  “On 27th May 2012 protesters are planning to destroy our Chemical Ecology group’s scientific research because it uses genetically modified wheat. Growing wheat has an environmental toll of extensive insecticide use to control aphid pests. The research, which is non-commercial, is investigating how to reduce that by getting the plants to repel aphids with a natural pheromone. We are appealing for protesters to call off the destruction and discuss the work.”

Researchers have written to the campaigners in the spirit of “openness and dialogue” explaining that GM plants could benefit the environment as they will reduce pesticide use. "Our GM wheat could, for future generations, substantially reduce the use of agricultural chemicals."

Researchers have also recorded a video in which Gia Aradottir Postdoctoral Researcher, Insect Biology, Rothamsted Research states We know we cannot stop you taking the action you are planning to take, but please reconsider before it's too late, and before several years of work to which we have been devoting our lives will be destroyed forever."

Dr Aradottir said “As scientists, we know only too well that we don’t have all the answers. But if the work is destroyed, we’ll lose years of work and we will never know whether it could reduce the environmental impact of wheat growing. Please oppose the destruction of our research.”

The letter of appeal is available to download here

The video can be accessed here

If you would like to add your support to the petition go to

 

More information about the wheat trial is available at the Rothamsted Research website

 

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