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The success in greenhouse trials of a maize variety that could become Africa's first homemade genetically modified (GM) crop has highlighted a softening in attitudes towards the technology, says an article.

Africa has been hostile to genetic modification largely because of negative attitudes in Europe, as well as a lack of interest from the global agricultural industry in the problems of poor nations, argues the Newsweek article.

But climate change and growing food insecurity have helped to shift attitudes. Farmers in developing countries across the world are now leading the way, says the article, which describes GM innovations in countries ranging from Malaysia to South Africa.

Universal acceptance of GM is a long way off, however, it says. In Africa, one nation has licensed a GM product for sale and only six countries in the continent  — Burkino Faso, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and South Africa — are experimenting with biotechnology.