Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The arguments for and against GM crops should be based on sound scientific evidence - and not just fall from the sky

A major new study of the European Union intends to examine the effects on growth of potato plants genetically resistant to the blight on the environment and biodiversity in ecosystems farm. Will also be the first GMOs are grown in Ireland since late 1990.

In a statement released last month, Teagasc (Irish agency for agricultural development) has announced it is seeking a license to conduct field trials of genetically modified potatoes as part of the MAI consortium - a group that includes representatives from research organizations 15 EU countries.

late blight, caused by a fungus-type

Phytophthora infestans

, decimated the crop of potatoes in Ireland in the 1840s, this who led the Great Famine. Since then, the disease remains a problem for Irish farmers, who had to use fungicides to maintain yields of potatoes. Genetic modification has the potential to protect against attacks from the factory potato late blight, without requiring large amounts of fungicides.

The potato variety Desiree was transformed with the RPI-resistance gene conferring vnt1.1

P. infestans

. The gene was taken from species of wild potatoes

venturii Solanum

and inserted into the cultivated potato.

Although there is evidence that public concerns about genetically modified crops has declined in the UK, the new field experiments were carried out in Ireland for the first time since the end of 1990 aa attracted some criticism here. In a statement last week, Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA) - which certifies organic products in Ireland - according to the experiment would be a waste of taxpayer money. "In light of the fact that Teagasc has filed an application with the [Environmental Protection Agency] EPA permit to grow GM potatoes at its headquarters in Oakpark, Teagasc IOFGA demand accountability for its decision to lose money taxpayers in this project. "


Maher, Director of Development IOFGA said GM growing in Ireland would be "economic suicide" and that could threaten a market value of the export of ? 9.1 billion (£ 7.6 billion). "Ireland has an excellent international reputation as an island green and clean is also a GMO-free region, and we must maintain that reputation does not destroy it"

The statement accusing Teagasc end of a ride "technology" Junk ". In this austere economic climate, we need to stop unnecessary public expenditure and enforce immediate responsibility for which will continue "

Unfortunately, IOFGA seems to have jumped the gun. The research funding comes directly from the research program of the EU FP 7 to 1 ? 50 billion fund for research and technological development. There is no question of more money from Irish taxpayers.

The arguments for and against GM crops should be based on sound scientific evidence and not simply fall from the sky.

field trials be conducted in Oakpark analyze the impact of GM crops in the surrounding ecosystem. John Spink, director of research at Teagasc culture, is quick to point out that research is "not trying to prove the commercial viability of transgenic potatoes."

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