[extropy-chat] Ludd rools, OK
thespike at satx.rr.com
Sun Jul 4 18:55:29 UTC 2004
Genetically Modified Crop Research Collapses in UK as Last Big Firm Quits
By GEOFFREY LEAN
The Independent (U.K.)
Research into genetically modified crops in Britain is set to collapse,
following the withdrawal of the last major biotech company, pro-GM
scientists, the industry and environmentalists have all told The
Independent on Sunday.
Last week Syngenta, the only big firm still working on genetically modified
agriculture in the UK, announced it was moving all its operations to the
The Anglo-Swiss company will stop all GM research at its site in Berkshire
and move it to North Carolina, with a loss of 130 jobs.
Yesterday leaders of both sides of the debate predicted that the
development of GM crops in Britain was doomed for the foreseeable future.
They said university research is increasingly financed by businesses, and
doubted the Government would continue to plough public money into research
that had no application in Britain.
Professor Anthony Trewavas, the Professor of Plant Biochemistry at
Edinburgh University, told The Independent on Sunday: "This is a sad
retreat. Work in universities will probably cease as well."
He said it would have "long-term" effects because "once teams are dispersed
it takes a long time to get things back together again".
Professor Michael Wilson, Professor of Plant Biology at Warwick University
and a member of the government-appointed GM science panel, said: "I am
afraid that the Luddites have effectively won." He blamed the media and
"ego-tripping and propagandising" environmentalists.
The GM industry's Agriculture and Biotechnology Council said research in
the UK was becoming more difficult because of a lack of government support.
But Lord Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association, said that the
technology had been rejected because of "deep public unease".
Pete Riley, of the Five Year Freeze, an anti-GM pressure group, said: "If
you produce things that people do not want to buy you cannot expect to stay
in business long." He urged the Government to provide more finance to
university researchers so that they were less dependent on commercial funding.
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