By Lisa Firth (Editor) Independence Educational Publishers Cambridge
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Additional info for A Genetically Modified Future? Issues Vol 138
No GM crops suitable for UK conditions have been approved by the EU and it would take until 2009 for any to receive approval under its long-winded procedures. Ian Pearson, the environment minister, insisted yesterday that the Government was not for or against GM, and that proposals were ‘not a green light for GM crops’. The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors said it was ‘disappointed’ that the Government did not support the introduction of a GM land register. Damian Cleghorn, an RICS spokesman, said: ‘It is irresponsible of the Government not to introduce a land registry that would allow prospective purchasers of land and property to be warned about any possible issues relating to their transactions.
Although he conceded that Europeans have the right to know about the benefits and risks, he criticised the EU’s dogmatism in refusing all GMOs. ’ For the moment, he said, Europe is standing in the way of developing countries solving their own problems because of its straight-out rejection of GMOs. ‘Developing countries are scared of losing their export market to Europe if they start cultivating GM crops,’ he said. But he agreed that Europe has an important role to play in encouraging the development of biosafety regulations, which are often very weak in developing countries.
Now, in an ironic twist, new cutting-edge technologies have made gene splicing and transgenic crops obsolete and a serious impediment to scientific progress. The new frontier is called genomics and the new agricultural technology is called marker-assisted selection (MAS). The new technology offers a sophisticated method to greatly accelerate classical breeding. A growing number of scientists believe MAS – which is already being introduced into the market – will eventually replace GM food. Moreover, environmental organisations that oppose GM crops are guardedly supportive of MAS technology.
A Genetically Modified Future? Issues Vol 138 by Lisa Firth (Editor) Independence Educational Publishers Cambridge