Italian GM Research Under Threat

While anti-GM crop destruction may have been stopped at Rothamsted only a week ago, yet another project has come under threat. Dr. Eddo Rugini has spent the last 30 years working on woody plant propagation in Italy, specifically looking at transgenic olive trees, cherry trees, and kiwifruit vines. He gained permission to grow the plants in 1998 with strict protocols to prevent gene flow from the plants. However in 2002 Italy passed a law banning field research on genetically engineered plants. Dr. Rugini was granted an extension until 2008, but no longer and has now been called to destroy the plants himself. You can find out more information on this issue in a well written article by Anastasia Bodnar of Biofortified.

Thirty years of work will be destroyed tomorrow, by Dr. Rugini himself (under court order), a true tragedy for science. While it may be too late to effectively stop this, a petition has nonetheless been formed to protest the destruction. You can sign the petition here, or see the signatures of others here. I have included some of the moving words of those who have signed the petition after the break.

Lack of open-minded views and opposition to free inquiry about food production is a major threat to future global food and environmental security and success in elimination of poverty. In short, repressive anti-intellectual rigid ideology is a major barrier standing in the way of solutions to today’s big problems away from the rich and fortunate world.

– Dr David Tribe (University of Melbourne)

There is clearly no scientific rationale for insisting of the destruction of this field experiment.

– Jomatham Jones (University of East Anglia)

Humanity needs to be able to evalute new agrcultural approaches. Research is part of the solution not part of the problem.
– Dr Toby Bruce (Rothamsted)

It is incredibly challenging to maintain experiments this long, and it is so valuable to have such long-term data of this sort. It is stunning to me that such a well-designed, maintained, and important project is at risk. Please let this project continue.

– Mary Mangan (OpenHelix LLC)

In this period of crises, research is the solution of a lot of our problems.

– Francesco Facci (Farmer)

Posted on in Politics & Ethics 2 Comments