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Scotland’s crop of contention

Scotland’s crop of contention

Publish date: 2015-08-26

On 9th August the Scottish government banned a commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) crops. The decision raised protests in scientific community. In response, 28 research organisations have written an open letter to the Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs.

Tags: gmo , Scotland , prohibition , GM corn

Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead, took advantage on E.U. allowance to forbid GM crops on individual nation’s territory. According to his announcement, E.U.-approved insect-resistant corn together with six other GM crops that are under evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority are banned for planting at Scottish territory, in order to protect and further enhance its clean, green status.

Many scientists, including the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the British Society of Plant Breeders, are concerned about the potential negative effect on science in Scotland. Government decision won’t affect farmers in the short term, because not much GM corn is grown in Scotland, however it close the way for other crops that will be eventually commercialized in European Union. 28 research organisations have written an open letter to the Minister. “Traits currently being investigated that might benefit Scotland's farmers, consumers and environment include potatoes that can reduce fungicide use and omega-3–enriched oilseeds that could provide a more sustainable source of feed for salmon farming,” the letter states. Signatories are “extremely concerned about the potential negative effect on science in Scotland.”

In response to the public appeal, Lochhead ensures, that those changes will not affect research as it is currently carried out in Scotland and is ready to meet representatives of scientific community.
- The Scottish Government will continue to receive expert advice from our scientific advisors and others. – adds government spokesperson.

Sources:
Science Magazine
news.scotland.gov.uk
The letter

Monika Kossakowska-Zwierucho

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