Research demonstrates GM crops can benefit wildlife

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Researchers in Britain have claimed that genetically modified crops can benefit wildlife.

The scientists at Broom's Barn research station discovered that with modified crop management systems genetically modified herbicide-tolerant sugar beet could help wildlife. They timed the spring application of herbicide to maximise both crop yields and the benefits of leaving weeds in the field. Insects could feed on the weeds, and birds could feed on the insects, as well as the seeds from the weeds. The second summer spray of herbicide was eliminated, reducing costs and the amount of chemicals used.

It is hoped that these cost benefits and the high crop yields will lead to farmer's acceptance of these approaches if the beet is authorised for widespread planting.

The study, Management Of GM Herbicide-tolerant Sugar Beet For Spring And Autumn Environmental Benefit, was funded in 2001 and 2002 by a consortium of GM industry interests, the Association of Biotechnology Companies (ABC).