Royal Society role in GM debate

March 31, 2000

During a period of high emotion over GM technology, the Royal Society has consistently called for balanced and responsible argument based on scientific evidence. We are not pro-GM. We are in favour of trying to discover as best as we can what the scientific evidence is and to put that evidence before the public and the policy-makers. Our statement of September 1998, written well before the GM furore, said: "The use of genetically modified organisms has the potential to offer real benefits in agricultural practice, food quality, nutrition and health. There are, however, uncertainties about several aspects of GMOs. Continued research ... with the results made openly available, is essential if these uncertainties are to be properly addressed, the risks understood and the full potential of the new technology made clear. All parties must appreciate the public's legitimate concerns."

I seem to remember the prime minister recently expressing similar thoughts.

Stephen Cox Executive secretary The Royal Society, London SW1

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