GM Crops Need More Weedkillers: Report

Article excerpt

Environmental campaigners yesterday said the case for genetically modified crops had suffered a major setback after claims that they may need more weedkillers than conventional plants.

Supporters have long argued one of the key benefits of GM crops is that they use fewer weedkillers and thus have less impact on the environment, but it has now emerged that four weeds in the past seven years have been shown to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

Some GM crops have been engineered to tolerate glyphosate so they can be sprayed throughout the growing season.

Friends of the Earth's GM campaigner Clare Oxborrow said: "The main argument bio-tech companies have been using to push the benefits of GM crops has been this issue of the ability to use less herbicides or less damaging herbicides.

"The problem is we are finding some resistance is evolving naturally in some places. It is a worry and it blows the whole argument out of the water."

Marianne Bennett, a wildlife artist from Milnthorpe, Cumbria, and a volunteer with Friends of the Earth, said the research findings only served to reinforce the anti-GM debate. …