Applying a biodiversity brake to genetically modified crops

The storm which blew up in February over genetically modified crops and foods caught the Government ill-prepared. Making the advisory and regulatory system for biotechnology more responsive to public concerns will be one of its key challenges in the next few months. Meanwhile, the battle lines are being drawn in Whitehall over when to allow commercial releases of the first herbicide-tolerant GM crops - with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions developing longer-term plans to steer innovation in GM crops in a direction which fits with Government commitments to enhance biodiversity on Britain's farms.

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