GM Wheat A Failure in the Fields
To keep away a particularly destructive pest, the aphid, scientists have spent years and significant funds to develop a genetically modified wheat plant. After being tested carefully in the lab, the GM wheat has not proven pest resistant when planted in open fields in the United Kingdom.
The wheat was altered to include an odor that deters aphids, commonly known as green fly or black fly insects. These creatures cause significant loss of wheat crop by sucking nutrients directly from the plants sap. Their interaction with wheat can also introduce viruses.
Scientists who worked on the trial now have to take a step back and rethink this GM product.
Professor Huw Jones, senior molecular biologist at Rothamsted Research, who oversaw introducing the genetic changes in the plants, noted: “As scientists we are trained to treat our experimental data objectively and dispassionately but I was definitely disappointed.”
GMO for food crops have been publicly criticized on several fronts in the UK. The general public has protested “frankfoods” and many farmers would prefer more funding for less risky pest-control methods with known efficacy.