21 July 2003 20:16 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Opponents and supporters of genetically modified (GM) crops heard Monday that a UK-government sponsored study into the balance of the science's risks and merits had proved inconclusive.
The report* from the GM Science Review Panel concluded that risks to human health were low from current GM crops and that there was no case for ruling out all of the products. However, the opinion did not equate to blanket approval of GM crops, it added.
Potential effects on farmland and wildlife were the most important issues concerning GM crops, according to the panel. Its report noted that, while GM crops continue to undergo field trials, they were unlikely to invade the countryside and become problematic plants.
But the panel stressed that GM is not a single, homogeneous technology and its applications should be considered on a case-by-case basis. The panel also called for GM regulation to keep pace with new scientific and technological developments.
The government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, who chaired the panel, said in a statement: "We cannot know everything but if we are paralysed by uncertainty, innovation and progress will be stifled."
The GM Science Review Panel was set up by the government alongside two other studies to evaluate the merits and risks related to the crops. The other studies saw the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit look at the costs and benefits of GM crops, and from early June to last week a national public debate - 'GM Nation?' - was run seeking opinions and concerns.
*To see the full report from the GM Science Review Panel, go to:
To read the report from the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, go to:
For information on the recently closed national debate, go to:
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