UK to speed up GM plant approval

07 August 1998

UK to speed up GM plant approval

THE UK Government plans to accelerate approval of genetically-modified (GM) crops by cutting the number of tests prior to crop trials.

The move has been prompted by a recent appeal court ruling that found the Ministry of Agriculture had been acting unlawfully over the past three years by failing to implement seed-trial regulations fully.

Officials admitted that up to 1,200 existing trials, including those of about 160 GM seeds, might have to be scrapped because the new rules could not be applied retrospectively.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth said it was important that GM crops were fully tested.

New research has just revealed GM crops have spawned a new generation of prolific and aggressive superweeds with inherited resistance to herbicides.

Dr Allison Snow, of Ohio State University, told an Ecological Society of America meeting in Baltimore that she and Danish scientists had discovered new evidence that genes can also spread from crops to weeds – making them just as strong as their ordinary relatives.

The scientists had crossed a herbicide-resistant oilseed rape with a wild relative in laboratory conditions. They found that by the third generation the weeds that carried the gene for herbicide resistance looked exactly like normal weeds.

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