15 January 2003
PROF. KING SAYS BEET RESEARCH NOT VALIDATED
This is a quote from Professor Sir David King, the UK Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, from an interview on Today programme as part of an item on the Monsanto-funded GM beet research and claims made by the researchers that the research has shown that GM herbicide-tolerant crops can be managed for environmental benefit:
"I don't think it is conclusive. But it certainly indicates an interesting approach that, that needs more research to validate it. The, the indications from the results are in my view, that the strongest claims are not conclusively demonstrated."
Interview transcript below.
BBC Radio Four Today Programme
Wednesday 15th January 2003 07:40
interviewee: Professor Sir David King
Sarah Montague: And as I say professor Sir David King leads the government's scientific review of GM technology. Good morning. Professor Sir David King: Good morning Sarah.
SM: What contribution does this make to the debate?
DK: Well I, I think it is an important new contribution, I don”št think it is conclusive. But it certainly indicates an interesting approach that, that needs more research to validate it. The, the indications from the results are in my view, that the strongest claims are not conclusively demonstrated. But it does show that it is possible to have a regime in which bio-diversity is improved quite radically. And I, I stress possible, I think we are simply looking here at the first results demonstrating a new approach.
SM: Even if it is just possible, the shame of it is that it is not being used on these farm scale trials isn”št it?
DK: The farm scale trials are being conducted on a, a much wider regime. But you are right, the, the farm, the FSEs are not looking at this particular type of application. Nevertheless of course, the information from the FSEs is not invalidated by this result, this just as I say, is a piece of research that needs to be followed through but it, it is not followed through as you are indicating in the FSEs.
SM: Mind you as far, with the FSEs, the farm scale trials aren”št going to feed in to your research are they? Because you report before they come up with anything.
DK: Well thanks for asking that because the Science Review Panel is going to report in the early Summer and the FSEs will probably not be re, published, the results from that published until later in the Summer. But of course government decisions and my own advice to government will not be made until we have completed the review and we have the full results from the FSEs. Could I, could I just suggest though? The GM Science Review is being conducted in the open, we have a Website and I very much hope that the authors of this paper will submit it to the Website. And the various criticisms such as that, those made by Peter Melchett, they should also be placed on the Website, particularly if they are expressed in scientific terms.
SM: Can I just go back to what you were saying there about the farm scale trials. Are you saying that they will form part of your final recommendations and advice or the contribution from them will form part of your final advice to government?
DK: Absolutely. So the, my advice on the FSEs is going to be based on first of all, this broad ranging review that we are conducting in the public domain and secondly, on the specific results of those trials. So the advice won”št be narrowly based if you see what I mean.
SM: Professor Sir David King, thank you very much.
DK: Thank you.