London (March 30th, 2005) – At the end of last year we needed to move the CropGen website to a different server. That provided us with an opportunity to recast its format and update the contents. It took a while to find out just how to do that – and to find time to do it – but now we are there.

Aside from some face-lifting, the website is somewhat simpler than it was, reflecting CropGen’s new structure. Rather than a formal panel of a few specialists, nearly thirty experts with a wide range of experience have agreed to answer questions sent in by visitors. If you think we could improve this website further, please let us know.

CropGen will continue to serve as a focus and forum for people interested in approaching on a rational basis the issues, benefits and problems of agricultural biotechnology. For too long, hysteria and hyperbole have reigned and, in some quarters they still do. But such is the success of the technology (as we note in the accompanying comment
While we were away) that, hysteria notwithstanding, spectacular progress is being made in those parts of the world needing it most.

It is tough on many European farmers that they cannot for the moment take advantage of what science and technology have to offer. It is tough, too, that some European scientists have to go elsewhere to advance their subjects and bring the practical benefits to mankind because they cannot do so in their home countries. European consumers are to be denied the benefits unless they choose to take their holidays abroad. For the moment, much of Europe appears keener to play politics in this field than to derive its benefits. In the scheme of things the madness is no doubt momentary; sooner or later will pass but not, alas, without having done major damage along the way.

CropGen continues as ever to voice an independent view. In this, our sixth year of existence, we will be looking for downsides as well as benefits, just as we have from the day of our birth. No technology is perfect but so far this one seems valuable and without noteworthy accompanying hazards. Almost half the world’s people live in countries in which it is accepted. How long will it be before the other half realise what they are missing?


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