From: David Adam, The Guardian, Environmental Health News, More from this Affiliate
Published October 21, 2009 12:20 PM

U.K.'s Royal Society Pushes GM Crop Use as Hunger Solution

Research to develop genetically modified crops must be stepped up as part of a £2bn "grand challenge" to avoid future food shortages, an influential panel of scientists said yesterday. In its report, the Royal Society said that GM techniques would be needed to boost yields and help crops survive harsher climates, as the global population rises and global warming worsens.

But the report said GM was not the only answer, and that measures to improve crop management, such as improved irrigation, were needed too.

Professor David Baulcombe, a plant scientist at the University of Cambridge who chaired the study, said: "We need to take action now to stave off food shortages. If we wait even five to 10 years, it may be too late. Biological science has progressed in leaps and bounds in the last decade and UK scientists have been at the head of the pack when it comes to topics related to food crops. In the UK we have the potential to come up with viable scientific solutions for feeding a growing population and we have a responsibility to realise this potential. There's a very clear need for policy action and publicly funded science to make sure this happens."

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