More transparency needed 1

March 5, 2009

Tracey Brown, in her letter (26 February) attacking the article on Sense About Science's genetic modification guide and GM Watch's press release about conflicting interests ("Charity guide criticised for not declaring GM interests", 19 February), claims that: "The description of the John Innes Centre (JIC) as receiving funding from biotech companies was mischievous."

Why so? The JIC not only receives such funding but also in the past has entered into major deals with both Syngenta and Dupont - worth about £60 million in total and celebrated at the time as exciting precedents. The fact that the Syngenta deal eventually came unstuck, almost certainly in part because of all the opposition to GM, hardly provides a rationale for not wanting to secure a more favourable climate for this technology.

A number of the authors of the GM guide work for the JIC, but apparently the JIC's GM interests do not warrant a mention.

Jonathan Matthews
GM Watch

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