Letter: GM common sense

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Sir: Contrary to what the Prime Minister claims ("Blair shifts to open mind on GM foods", 7 June) the banning of GM foods will not compromise medical applications of the same technology. These developments are taking place independently and a very clear distinction can be made between the two.

Unlike its use in agriculture, GM in medicine is targeted to specific genetically inherited (eg muscular dystrophy) or acquired (eg cancer) diseases rather than the population at large and does not result in the release of GMOs into the environment that are capable of reproducing and spreading in an uncontrolled manner.

Drugs or therapies using GM are subject to strict pre-clinical and clinical trails to assess efficacy and side-effects. Once released, GM-produced drugs are clearly labelled and monitored. Little or none of this currently applies with GM food.

Dr MICHAEL ANTONIOU

Guy's Hospital

London

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