Genetically Modified Organisms

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Genetically Modified Organisms

Genetiaclly Modified Organisms (GMO) are organisms that have had their genetic material altered through the application of modern biotechnology techniques. Selected individual genes can be transferred between same and across different species, changing the characteristics of an organism in ways not possible through traditional breeding techniques. The process of genetic modification provides scientists with opportunities to breed new variaties of plant which are more resistant to pesticides and disease, and which can generate greater crop yield.

Below are links to statements and reports by a range of organisations and scientific bodies of national or international standing. Links to further reading can be found on the right hand side of this page.

UK Academies and learned societies

The Society for General Microbiology was founded in 1945 and is the largest microbiological society in Europe with over 5,000 members. 

The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society that was founded in 1660 and claims to be the oldest such society still in existance. In 2002 the Society published a report on 'Genetically modified plants for food use and human health'.

UK Government

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the lead government department on the environmental safety of GMO releases and also considers wider issues surrounding the use of GM crop technology. 

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is the UK Government's in-house source of information on public policy issues relating to science and technology. In 2012 POST published a briefing paper on 'GM in Agricultural Development'.

The Department for Health is the lead government department on public health issues. In 1999 the department published a report on 'Health Implications of Genetically Modified Foods'.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee conducts inquiries and provides reports on a range of matters concerning science, engineering, technology and research. In 2010 the Committee published a report on 'Bioengineering'.

The Food Standards Agency is an independent Non-Government Departmental Body (NGDB) established in 2000. It provides advice and information to the public and Government on issues regarding food health and safety.

The Health and Safety Executive is the national independent watchdog and regulator of work-related health, safety and illness issues.