Govt looks to harness GM to feed the world sustainably

The Government has given one of its strongest statements of intent to delve deeper into the science of genetic modification to avoid possible food catastrophes in future.

John Beddington, chief scientific adviser, said: We have the enormous science of genomics to solve particular problems of growing. It’s not just about the GM debate.

We have started within the government to look to science in 2050 and how we can feed 9 billion people sustainably, ethically and equitably.

Modern technology enabled the complete sequencing of DNA and that’s where the real future should be because we have a brilliant and well-respected science community.

Beddington spoke at the launch of the NFU’s Why Science Matters campaign, and told the conference of a project in California that harnessed GM E.Coli for food.

Dianna Bowles, chairman of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, said GM science could unlock secrets of how fish oil was produced by the algae fish fed on.

Beddington said: We must assess potential environmental health implications and act responsibly. But we don’t want to throw away an enormous tool in our armoury.

Tina Barsby, director of the National Institute for Agricultural Botany, insisted plant breeders were at the forefront of GM research.

There’s only one way to bring the science of genomics to agriculture - through plant breeding. We need more of it, it’s at the bottom of the food-industry triangle.

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