Trials under trial

a veil of secrecy has marred the credibility of experiments conducted in the uk for ascertaining the possible adverse effects of genetically modified (gm) crops on wildlife. This allegation was made by the country's Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission, according to which residents and farmers living close to the trial sites were not told about the experiments. Consequently, no precautionary measures were taken and organic farms might have been tainted by the gm pollens. The commission says that the government should have done more to publicise the objectives of the trial ."The appearance of secrecy and the way decisions were made has lead to hostility among the masses,' says Julie Hill, deputy chair of the commission. Tainted Pollen Initiated, the trials conducted in 2000, aimed to compare the effects of gm crops and their conventional counterparts on farmland wildlife. Maize, sugar beet, winter oilseed rape and spring oilseed rape were the four GMcrops that were tested. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and English Nature, the government's countryside adviser, had demanded the trials.

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