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Some biotech crops are more harmful to wildlife according to UK field trial reports

(Thursday, Oct. 16, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Just-food.com: Certain genetically modified crops are more harmful to wildlife than conventional varieties, according to a report on the results of the UK’s field trials of GM crops.

Scientists concluded that growing conventional sugar beet and spring rapeseed was better for many groups of wildlife than growing GM herbicide-tolerant sugar beet and spring rape, reported Reuters.

On the other hand, the higher frequency of some insect groups, such as bees and butterflies, in and around conventional crops could have been because there were more weeds to provide food and cover, the report said.

In GM maize fields, however, local wildlife was much less affected. Scientists said there were more weeds in and around the GM herbicide-tolerant maize crops, more butterflies and bees around at certain times of the year, and more weed seeds.

The results of the £6m three-year field trials were reported in eight papers in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences.

The results will now be passed to the government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, which is to advise on their implications by December or early January. The government said it will then decide on the UK’s position on whether these crops should be approved for commercial growing in the EU.

The results of the trials will also be forwarded to other EU member states.