GM Crops Harm Neighboring Flora and Fauna, British Test Results Indicate

Genetically modified crops can cause more damage to nearby plants and animals than conventional strains of the same crops, according to preliminary results from British government farm trials. The three crops studied — GM sugar beet, maize, and oilseed rape — destroyed more insects and weeds than their non-GM counterparts. This would seem to disprove the theory advanced by biotechnology advocates that GM plants would interact with other species in the same way as conventional plants and would have no effect on the countryside. The British government will use the final trial results in determining whether or not to allow GM crops to be grown commercially in the country. Meanwhile, in the U.S., scientists are planting dozens of research plots with GM trees, causing enviros to worry that the trees could crossbreed with natural varieties and undermine ecosystem health and biodiversity. “It won’t be as widespread as agricultural biotechnology, but it could be much more destructive,” said Jim Diamond of the Sierra Club.