Letter: Modified food

Sir: Professor Dawkins (letter, 14 August) may be right in saying that introducing genes from one species to another "does not inherently make it bad or good." However, that is beside the point. The point is that there could be tremendous risks involved about which we have not the slightest idea as yet.

While genetic engineering may have the potential for efficient and harmless food production, we must beware of letting profit-oriented organisations take our fundamental food base into their hands to manipulate it without sufficient knowledge of the ecological consequences.

The mixed blessings of poisonous agrochemicals should have taught us a lesson about manipulating the natural system according to our needs.

There is absolutely no need for genetic modification. Traditional breeding methods have already provided us with an over-production of food, and those countries which might benefit from genetically engineered crops will not be able to afford them.

NICOLAI JUNGK

Aberdeen

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