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Observer UK editorial board endorses jumpstarting GM crops

| March 17, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Feeding the swelling numbers of people on our planet is one of the most serious challenges facing our leaders today. By 2050, it is likely Earth’s population will have reached 9 billion. Finding food for such numbers will not be easy. Science will not solve the problem on its own, of course, but clearly it has a key role to play. Without new technologies, future generations will starve. It is as straightforward as that.

At present, only one GM crop is grown commercially in Europe – a type of GM maize grown mostly in Spain. EU red tape has blocked the introduction of all others despite the fact that many offer rich environmental and nutritional rewards compared with the growing of conventionally bred varieties.

The situation is unacceptable, a point that was stressed last week by a group of government science advisers who warned that European rules covering the growing of GM crops are no longer fit for purpose. They urged that Britain should be allowed to decide for itself whether genetically modified crops should be grown in the UK. The many benefits to be gained, in terms of sustainable food production, far outweigh any perceived dangers, stated the report to the Council for Science and Technology (CST), which advises David Cameron on scientific developments. It called for the wholesale reorganisation of the way that the crops are assessed by regulators. If this does not happen, then Britain and Europe are likely to fall behind other parts of the world where GM crops have been embraced, in particular the US.

Read the full original article: There’s no choice: we must grow GM crops now

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