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New Genetics, Food and Agriculture: Scientific Discoveries – Societal Dilemmas

This report, written by Gabrielle Persley of the Doyle Foundation, reviews approximately 50 recent "science-based" studies and reports on the use of modern biotechnology in agriculture and food. It identifies areas of scientific consensus and disagreement as well as gaps in knowledge where further research is needed. This approach is used to review not only the state of scientific knowledge in areas like food safety and the evaluation of environmental impacts, but also to assess the state of regulatory frameworks and the effects of GM crops on international trade.

The report’s overview of the (then) current state of scientific knowledge in relation to the safety of GM foods and environmental impacts is clear and informative. The report is weaker where it seeks to draw conclusions on socio-economic and regulatory issues, such as the merits of labelling GM foods and the harmonisation of international regulations on GMOs.

This is a dense report containing a lot of information, clearly written and with helpful tables and a concise executive summary. It also includes a useful annotated bibliography of the reports on which it draws and web resources. It will be useful starting point for anyone seeking to understand the scientific basis for making policy judgements about GM crops and foods.

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