Field Trials for new strain of Genetically Modified wheat have resulted in a disappointing failure. The cost of the tests were covered by public funds, and have been increased by security measures aimed at keeping anti-GMO activists from tampering with the site.
The United Kingdom’s Biotechnology and Biological Research Council, is the largest public founder of non-medical bioscience in the country. The Research Council has spent an estimated total of 2.5 Million British Pounds on testing GM wheat strains.
Anti-GMO advocates have criticized the public spending adding that genetic modification always promises results in the future but does harm in the present.
However the movement opposing the use of genetically modified crops is dwindling. Many people’s position on the matter changed, since it was proven that some of the studies the anti-GM advocates base their opinions on, were either misinterpreted or false.
One of the best known cases of misinterpretation has to do with a study reporting that whole genes from GM food can be found in our bodies. Not much later many of the leading voices in the anti-GMO camp were claiming that human DNA is changed when consuming GM products, which was a huge misconception.
There have also been several cases of links to “scientific researches” that proved to be nothing more than personal theories. Some of the activists had quoted data from what seemed to be scientific studies but were in fact just references to events that never happened.
However there are some abuses which cannot be denied by anyone either pro or against GM, most of them involve court cases regarding patent infringement and intellectual property theft.
Many farmers who do not use GM crops on their land have been sued for such crimes due to the fact that wind and insects had transferred seeds from one field to another. This meant farmers were involuntarily growing GM crops without paying the producer companies.
At a closer look it seems that most valid arguments against GM crops have more to do with the legal and economical side of the business than the science behind them.
The cost of the security measures meant to protect the test area from anti-GMO activists was about £1.8 million, while the cost of the developing and testing was only £750.000.
The field trial was set up in order to test a new type of wheat that was genetically enhanced in order to produce certain insect repellent pheromones.
The supposed aphid resilient crops were first tested in the laboratory where they passed tests successfully. Scientists were hoping that a larger scale test performed would prove that the new genetically engineered wheat fields can survive with a reduced amount of pesticides.
One of the most circulated reasons for which the test is believed to have failed is that the insects had gotten accustomed to the repellent, and at some point were able to ignore it. The smell of the aphid repellent can be found in natural un-modified plants like peppermint.
Image Source: ourworld.unu.edu