The protest group did not have enough support to carry out their threat about GM wheat
By: Naghmeh Abiri-
Around six month ago IRBIC published news about a genetically modified (GM) wheat produced by British scientists at Rothamsted. This wheat emits a pheromone that is similar to the one which aphids release when they are being attacked. This pheromone scares away …
Around six month ago IRBIC published news about a genetically modified (GM) wheat produced by British scientists at Rothamsted. This wheat emits a pheromone that is similar to the one which aphids release when they are being attacked. This pheromone scares away aphids and attracts deadly predators to devour them, providing an alternative to the application of dangerous chemical insecticides that are presently used to control the pest. But after the announcement of this news in UK, protests were raised against the GM wheat field trial.
On Sunday morning, 20th May, an intruder attempted to break into the experimental trial. The intruder caused significant, random property damage, but failed to disrupt the experiment in this attack. Officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary arrested and charged the man with criminal damage.
Then in May 21 the Rothamsted Research teamannounced that the “protest group” was continuing with plans for direct action to destroy the Rothamsted GM wheat experiment entirely on the following Sunday. The group said they wanted to destroy the crop because of a contamination risk through cross-pollination with other wheat in fields a long way away. Their reason for pulling it up on 27 May was that “wheat is wind-pollinated” and that this was the last weekend before pollination is likely to occur. They did not seem to realize when they booked this date that wheat is in fact self-pollinating, and that therefore almost no pollen leaves the plant, let alone the field. The Rothamsted Research team informed them of this misunderstanding, but to no avail. They also refused The Rothamsted Research team offer to debate the issues in public in front of an audience.
Concerned scientists from all over the world who did not want to see that the efforts of scientists are destroyed by irresponsible “technophobic” groups, prepared for a petition that was signed by a very large group of researchers worldwide. Their support for British researchers was circulated among the “protest group”, the public and the politicians. Iran Biotechnology Information Center (IRBIC) came to the aid of researchers in Rothamsted and in addition to signing the petition by Dr. Behzad Ghareyazie the executive director of Iran Biotechnology Information Center, other Iranian scientists were also asked to sign this petition.
A few days ago The Rothamsted Research Center in an official statement announced that “the GM wheat trial crop at Rothamsted Research has been harvested. It is far too early to talk about results yet, but the team at Rothamsted wanted to let you know about the harvest and to pass on their thanks. The “protest group” who said they were going to destroy the crop earlier in the summer did not have enough support to carry out their threat; this was because of you.”
Professor John Pickett said: "The team and I were overwhelmed by all the messages of support we received from the petition signatories. You all have a significant role to play in ensuring this important, independent scientific study continues to progress so we can better understand whether this technology could help us deliver more environmentally sustainable food production in the future. We are only half way through our experiment and to ensure we get robust scientific results we need to continue the experiment next year and then get the data thoroughly analyzed and independently peer reviewed for all to see. After all the great work done by Sense about Science this year, we hope next years phase will pass without the threat to damage it."
Síle Lane, of the Sense About Science said: "We were thrilled by the support for the researchers. We are still reading through the comments 6060 people left on the petition. This is ongoing research so its good for the scientists to know theres so much support for them from so many people”.
IRBIC, takes this opportunity to congratulate the British scientists at the Rothamsted Research for their successful conduction of the field trial, and to thank all IRBIC members for their support.
By: Naghmeh Abiri