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A row has erupted this week over the Vatican's stance on genetically modified (GM) crops. Newspaper reports earlier in the week suggested that the Vatican was to give its support to the technology as a way to alleviate the suffering of poor people around the world.

For example, an article in The Australian claimed that the Vatican — which has so far remained neutral on the controversy over GM food — was preparing an official report on biotechnology that would come down in favour of genetic modification.

But the Associated Press later reported that Vatican representative Renato Martino had contradicted such claims. Vatican authorities are simply planning to hold a roundtable discussion later this year to study the ethical and scientific implications of using GM crops — but no official decision on whether or not to support the technology has yet been taken, he is reported to have said.

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