Recent arguments put forward in the GM foods debate leave much to be desired. Prince Charles' contribution has been as ephemeral as any, while naturally creating much publicity for the Greenpeace stance. Now the Queen's husband has weighed in with a comment about grey squirrels (which are supplanting native reds in Britain). Although of questionable interest in the debate, the point that non-native species are more damaging than foreign genes is valid.

A spokesman from Greenpeace thinks differently, however, and said Philip was 'missing the point'. GM foods are 'not about mixing species, but about crossing the species barrier...something not tested in Nature'. This is completely untrue. Almost all microbes mix their genes, across species - often due to plasmids that they exchange. Indeed this is usually the method used by science, since the technology already exists. As a questioner on the programme 'Question Time' pointed out, 'if people spent as much time worrying about Global Warming or War as they did about GM foods, we might resolve important issues'.

Greenpeace do a lot of excellent work, and they do have scientific advisors. They would be best served by sticking to facts and not playing the political games with the truth that corrupts most debates. The public should be trusted to make up their own minds about what is safe in Science, not be told 'the awful truth' by pressure groups (or scientists, like me).

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