Leave GM analysis to the relevant scientists

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Sir

David Dennis, in Correspondence, claims that “an overwhelming majority of plant geneticists, biochemists and molecular biologists have endorsed the use and safety” of genetically modified (GM) crops (“Activists should accept mainstream view of GM” Nature 435, 561; 200510.1038/435561c). I question the validity of that claim.

“Statements by scientists who deal with simplified biological systems, at small scales, only add to the problem of misinformation. Denis Couvet”

Assessing the potential environmental and/or economical consequences of using GM crops — such as their impact on soil fauna or on non-target organisms — requires analysis in crop fields and in the natural environment, working on relevant objects, at the relevant scale.

As questions about the use and safety of GM crops concern primarily environmental science, statements by biochemists and molecular biologists, who deal with simplified biological systems, at small scales, only add to the problem of misinformation and lead to an increase in concern about GM crops.

Perhaps the public would be less worried if it was the overwhelming majority of environmental scientists who felt confident about the use and safety of GM crops.

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Couvet, D. Leave GM analysis to the relevant scientists. Nature 436, 328 (2005) doi:10.1038/436328b

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