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TalkScience@BL, January 2010

GM crops and food security: curing the world’s growing pains?

A discussion with Prof. Rosie Hails, MBE

21 January 2010

Prof. Rosie Hails' presentation on the impacts on biodiversity of agricultural intensification and how GM crops fit in to that picture. See Rosie's presentation here [PDF 1.9MB] and listen to the accompanying podcast of her introduction here.

Some of the questions that were addressed in the lively debate included:

  • Do GM technologies have a role to play in meeting demand for food by a population of 9 billion in 2050?
  • Are GM crops part of a 'sustainable' solution, or will use of GM technologies exacerbate the negative impacts of agriculture?
  • Do the impacts of GM technologies pale into insignificance beside other fundamental management practices?
  • Has the recent trend of rising food prices and awareness of food security issues altered the public perception of plant biotechnologies?

Rosie heads a section within the Biodiversity Programme of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. She sits on the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, chairs the Natural Capital Initiative and is leading on the disease and pest regulation aspects of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. Her research focus is insect pathogens and their role in population dynamics and pest control. She is a leader in the risk assessment of genetically modified plants and insect viruses.



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