GM plants: Questions and answers

Genetically modified foods do not pose a threat to human health or the environment and will aid in feeding a growing world population in a sustainable manner, the Royal Society says. It published a factual Q&A guide aimed at dispelling myths and misconceptions about GM food. The document, written by leading British scientists in the field, said half the UK population was ill informed about GM crops and a further 6% had never heard of them. It stated that currently available GM produce is "at least as safe to eat" as non-GM food, but conceded that new GM varieties can potentially cross-breed with closely-related plants and lead to undesirable environmental side effects. A GM crop variety is created by altering the plant's DNA in a lab. This typically involves adding a new trait it does not naturally possess, such as resistance to certain pests or pesticides. Several European countries have banned the commercial cultivation of genetically altered crops, but the European Union as a whole imports large quantities of GM produce from overseas – mostly soy bean, cotton and maize from the US.

Related Content