iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for John Pickett

Listen now 28 mins

Listen in pop-out player

John Pickett

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 12 June 2012

Professor John Pickett's research into GM crops was at the centre of a public debate last month.
His experimental work has engineered insect alarm systems into wheat, so that the plants give off chemicals which repel greenflies or aphids.

Activists known as "Take the Flour Back" had threatened to destroy field trials, but the day passed peacefully.

Professor Pickett's research for over 30 years has been based on using insect pheromones (the chemical messengers the insects send to one another) and understanding how plants are able to attract or push crop pests away. A pioneering technique he's developed known as push pull means that farmers in Africa have been able to improve their yields simply by planting what are known as companion crops that repel pests and trap crops which entice the insects. So if this approach is so successful is there really a need for GM versions?


Jim Al-Khalili - Presenter

Jim Al-Khalili

Find out more about Jim Al-Khalili and listen to his Science Explorer journey.

Inside Science

Image for BBC Inside Science

Adam Rutherford explores the research that is transforming our world.


  1. Image for The Life Scientific

    The Life Scientific

    Each week, Jim al-Khalili invites a leading scientist to tell us about their life and work. He'll…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss