Science is vital. Last week, anti-GM activists from Take the Flour Back said they would destroy a field of experimental crops at Rothamsted Research, because it uses genetically modified (GM) wheat. John Pickett, Scientific Leader of Chemical Ecology, said this:
“On 27th May 2012 protesters are planning to destroy our Chemical Ecology group’s scientific research because it uses genetically modified wheat. Growing wheat has an environmental toll of extensive insecticide use to control aphid pests. The research, which is non-commercial, is investigating how to reduce that by getting the plants to repel aphids with a natural pheromone. We are appealing for protesters to call off the destruction and discuss the work.”
Gia Aradottir, Postdoctoral Researcher, Insect Biology, had this to add:
“As scientists, we know only too well that we don’t have all the answers. But if the work is destroyed, we’ll lose years of work and we will never know whether it could reduce the environmental impact of wheat growing. Please sign our petition and oppose the destruction of our research.“
This is, of course, ridiculous anti-science behaviour by the anti-GM activists. There has been a great deal of media coverage on this topic, on the plea of the Rothamsted researchers to the anti-GM activists, to not destroy their research. New Scientist has an article entitled “Respect the need to experiment with GM crops“, and The Guardian goes with “Anti-GM activists urged not to trash wheat field“.
A live Q&A session hosted by Sense About Science, in which two researchers, Dr Wendy Harwood and Prof Huw Jones, answered a series of questions relating to GM wheat was held last Friday. The answers are clear and precise, and should alleviate the vast majority of concerns over this GM experiment. This Q&A was with the general public, and having achieved that, this is now a perfect opportunity for the anti-GM activists and the Rothamsted researchers to hold a proper debate about GM. Whether this will happen or not is undecided, but it’s a perfect chance to really explain the benefits of GM research to those most opposed to it.
If you think science research is important, and that it should not be destroyed because of a biased belief, please sign the petition to defend science. The more awareness people have of controlled GM research, and the benefits it can provide, the better this world will be.
Science is vital. Onwards!