14 June 2013

Ingeniøren interviews Director of Center for Synbio about the progression of GM research in Denmark

Head of Center for Synthetic Biology, Birger Lindberg Møller, was interviwed by national Danish newspaper Ingeniøren about the progression of Genetic Modicifation (GM) research in Denmark in light of the GM debate.

As the American seed producer Monsanto announced that it will cease all attempts to experiment with genetically modified crops on Danish soils, Director of Center for Synthetic Biology Birger Lindberg Møller was asked about his view on GM-crop research: 

"We are not conducting research aimed at developing GM-crops to be sowed on fields. It is a direct consequence of the political decisions that have been made. We restructured our research away from producing foods many years ago", He says and continues: "I want to combine excellent basic research with applied research, which can be used for something. But I do not wish to spend time discussing negative issues and approval procedures, with conditions that are unclear or ever changing."

He explains that his research has moved its focus to using plant cells , algae and cyanobacteria as production vessels for high value compounds for treatment of e.g. cancer and infectional diseases. 

He continues to explain his past experience with genetic modification research:

"It is not at all pleasant to work within such a polarized research area, with erroneous or manipulated data being presented by inveterate GM-proponents and opponents alike, as well as the GM crop producers themselves. The media love extreme statements, and when it comes to GM crops, they are often conveyed with no use of common sense".

As example he mentions a much publicized erroneous french investigation of rats, that were reported to develop cancer due to their GM-corn feed. Professor Møller continues: 

"So this is a highly charged field to be doing research in, and rather unpleasant to witness. It is a battlefield, where data are presented and used in ways that are not solely based on a wish to further our understanding of the pros and cons of the GM-technology. I do not want to be a part of such an environment, so I avoid this kind of research". 

Read the complete article here: "Førende dansk planteforsker: »GMO er blevet en slagmark«"