Flag of Europe as a round plate with knife and fork

Is the new European ruling on GM techniques ‘anti-science’?

Frontstage rhetorics, backstage forces in current debates around the European Court of Justice ruling on GM crops There has been much commotion in the media over the past week, following the ruling by the European Court of Justice over how to interpret EU laws bearing on the regulation of GM crops. The ruling clarifies an…

Hand holding maize seeds / Photo: Speak-It films

Global lessons for agricultural sustainability from GM crops

Governing Agricultural Sustainability: Global lessons from GM crops is the latest title in the STEPS Centre’s Pathways to Sustainability book series. Editor Phil Macnaghten introduces its reframing of the GM debate explored in the book. By Phil Macnaghten, Professor of Technology and International Development, Wageningen University ‘Can GM crops help to feed the world?’ It…

For or against GM crops? Other positions are available

Academic cheerleaders for biotechnology corporations need better arguments if they want to persuade the public, write Erik Millstone, Andy Stirling and Dominic Glover, introducing their article in a forthcoming edition of Issues in Science and Technology (PDF). Companies involved in crop genetic engineering (GE) see themselves as principled heroes in a struggle against opportunistic reactionaries….

GM report: Some nice recommendations, shame about the spin

The UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology has today released its long-awaited report on ‘Advanced genetic techniques for crop improvement: regulation, risk and precaution’. The ESRC STEPS Centre welcomes the moves made by the Committee – as reflected in the report title – to somewhat broaden out the original narrow terms of the…

GM Nation or GM Planet? How to involve citizens in decisions about transgenic crops

The UK’s GM Nation? public debate – conducted over a decade ago, tried to include the voices of citizens in decision-making over transgenic crops. With recent decisions by China and India possibly signalling a shift of opinion against GM in these ‘rising powers’, what kinds of institutions are required to enable democratic governance of these…

GM in China: ‘Paranoia’ and public opinion

Biosafety certificates permitting Chinese researchers to grow genetically modified rice and corn expired last week, with little indication that the Ministry of Agriculture will renew them. The certificates, issued in 2009, concerned two types of Bt rice, which express a gene of the bacillus thuringiensis bacterium, conferring pest resistance, and phytase maize, which when used…

GM crops: what people in the global South really think

Durham University has just published an important new research report on the governance of transgenic crops in three of the world’s ‘rising powers’ – Brazil, Mexico and India – looking at how different groups in those countries have reacted to GM crops. The document, A new approach to governing GM crops? Global lessons from the…

Responses to frequently asked questions on genetically-modified crops and development

GM Rice / BASF / Flickr Creative Commons By Andy Stirling, co-director of the STEPS Centre   Questions are never far from the headlines about how the world can farm more fairly, sustainably and productively. What is meant by these qualities varies greatly – including differing ways to raise income for poor farmers, improve nutrition, reduce environmental…

‘Golden Rice’ and the GM crop debate

Golden Rice grain compared to white rice grain in screenhouse of Golden Rice plants / IRRI Guest blog by Sally Brooks, Researcher and Associate Tutor at the University of York, and former STEPS Centre member In an interview on the Radio 4 Today Programme last week, Owen Paterson, Minister for Environment, outlined his case for a…

The GM debate should not be closed down to what is rational, but opened up to multiple rationalities…. A response to Chris Whitty and colleagues

  By Stephen Whitfield, PhD student, Institute of Development Studies (Knowledge, Technology and Society Team) Genetically modified rice / BASF   In a recent commentary published in Nature, Chris Whitty (chief scientific adviser at the UK Department for International Development) and colleagues rightly argue that the (ever-rich and seemingly-unending) debate over genetically modified crops should…