Techno fears

June 25, 1999

The hand-wringing about genetically modified foods technology does not help the debate (Letters, THES, June 11). Vitamin A-containing rice is feasible and meets a need. But is this technology being funded by development agencies? We have allowed funding of GM developments to pass into the hands of Monsanto et al, so we can hardly complain if they prioritise money-making developments in the rich West.

Complaints that the products of this technology are being tested on an unwitting public remind me of the outcry when cloned human insulin was "foisted" on diabetics by a profit-hungry pharmaceutical industry. I, like many UK diabetics, was injecting myself daily with bovine insulin before 1987. In view of the BSE scare that began about then, we may be grateful the introduction of GM insulin was not delayed until a few years later.

David de Pomerai

Senior lecturer in molecular toxicology, University of Nottingham

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