Genetically modified (GM) crop technology is not the answer to helping UK farmers produce more food, according to the head of the country’s top crop research facility.
Achim Dobermann, chief executive of Rothamsted Research, said GM technology could be a useful tool in some areas, but growing commercial biotech crops in the UK would not bring huge benefits.
Doberman said there were too many barriers for GM to be accepted and adopted in the UK and across Europe.
Public criticism of the technology was so fierce that it made sense to focus efforts on new technologies that were less controversial and potentially more beneficial to producers, he added.
“I don’t think GM is the major solution for agriculture,” said Prof Dobermann. “Ten years ago, if you spoke to people like me, we would have said that certain challenges require a GM solution.
“But we don’t need that anymore, because we can do it with more advanced breeding technologies. The advancement of gene editing – which is a very different thing to GM – will change the whole picture.”
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