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Last updated at 13:31 BST, Friday, 04 May 2012

British battle over GM crops

Summary

4 May 2012

Scientists in Britain developing genetically-modified (GM) wheat have made a public plea to activists urging them not to destroy a small field of the crops and engage in a conversation with them instead.

Reporter:

Leana Hosea

Environmental protesters

Protestors attack a filed of genetically modified crops.

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Report

An anti-GM campaign group, Take the Flour Back, are planning a mass action to wreck experimental plots of a new variety of genetically-modified wheat later this month. But in a novel tactic, scientists at Rothamstead Research are asking campaigners to talk to them, rather than attack the plantation.

Professor John Pickett is the lead researcher: "Please don't destroy our crop. We'd love to continue this dialogue. We would really hope to deal with your concerns and I think we ought to move together on this. But if you destroy the crop, we will not learn anything from the very hard work that we've been putting into this project over the last thirty years."

Professor Pickett says the GM wheat will repel small insects by attracting parasitic wasps to attack the pests. He believes it is environmentally friendly as it'll result in less pesticide being used.

Since the method of changing the DNA of organisms was developed, it has split opinion into those that believe it could feed the world and those who think that fiddling with the building blocks of life could produce unintended and possibly harmful consequences. At the moment it seems that the battle will continue to be fought in the fields of Britain.

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Vocabulary

campaign group

team of protestors with a political aim

a mass action

a large-scale protest activity

wreck

ruin

plots

areas of land

a novel tactic

an unusual strategy

dialogue

conversation

ought to

should

repel

keep away

pesticide

chemicals to destroy insects

fiddling with

manipulating

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