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SUPER-WEEDS OR MORE FOOD FOR ALL?

WHAT are the potential benefits of genetically modified crops?

SUPPORTERS claim GM crops could have bigger yields, be more resistent to disease and make farming easier. They would encourage investment in research and development, boosting the economy and creating new jobs.

WHAT are the potential problems?

OPPONENTS say "super-weeds" could be created, which would build up resistence to the herbicides that GM crops resist. Critics also say the sprayed fields will support less and less wildlife. GM plants can also inter-breed with non-GM varieties nearby.

HOW do GM crops work?

MOST GM crops tolerate herbicides. Farmers can spray their crops with weedkillers that will kill all plants in the field except the GM crop. The crop grows stronger because they do not compete with weeds and wildlife for water and nutrients. Another variety of GM crop is modified to produce a toxin that kills pests that feed on it.

IS there any difference in taste?

BOTH sides agree that GM foods are no different from those produced from regular crops in taste and appearance.

ARE there any health risks to humans?

PRODUCERS say there are no health concerns associated with GM foods. Opponents say insufficient tests have been done and the long-term health impact of GM foods is unknown.

Who makes them?

AMERICAN firm Monsanto produces the majority. The four main crops are soya, maize, cotton and oilseed rape.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 17, 2003
Words:229
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