GM Science Review - Comments on First Report

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Name: Gerald Humphreys Location (optional): Date: 3 October 2003
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To the Chairman, the GM Science Panel,

Dear Sir,

My comments on the First report of the GM Science Panel are as follows:-

1. On P.10 of the Executive Summary it is stated that "To date world-wide there have been no verifiable untoward toxic or nutritionally deleterious effects resulting from the cultivation and consumption of products from GM crops .............."

I would draw the Panel's attention to the following reference:-

Pusztai A, Bardocz S and Ewen SWB
'Genetically modified foods:potential human health effects' . This paper appears in
'Food Safety: Contaminants and Toxins' Ed. JPF D'Mello
Scottish Agricultural College pub. CAB International, 2003

2. As for the question posed in the title to Section 6.2 i.e. "Could GM plants become more widely invasive or persistent?", there is evidence that this is indeed so. For instance, Glyphosate-resistant marestail infested over 200,000 acres of cotton in W.Tennessee, USA in 2002 - 36% of all cotton acreage in the State. 200,000 acres of Soya beans were also affected.

These and other cases are summarised in 'Ho MW and Cummins J. "What's wrong with GMOs?" Science in Society 2002,16 11-27. A fully referenced version appears on ISIS members' website

Further, in "Engineered Genes Help Wild Weeds Thrive", Environmental News Service Washington, USA 9/8/02 ,Cat Lazaroff showed that Transgenes from Bt sunflower crossing into wild relatives made the latter hardier and more prolific, with the potential to become superweeds.

3. The Forward to the GM Science Review states that "the Panel will reconvene in late Autumn.....and will consider the results from the Farm Scale evaluations of GM crops if these are available. I believe the results are due to be published shortly. Flawed though the experimants are, the Panel's findings should include these considerations even if there is a delay in the publication of the results, no matter how long.

Yours faithfully,

G.D.O.Humphreys BSc. Hons. MSc.