(PRWEB) August 16, 2013
In an act of swift solidarity with Golden Rice researchers, more than 2,000 academics, scientists and supporters of plant biotechnology from across the globe signed an open letter condemning the destruction of Philippine government-sponsored humanitarian research field trials. More than 2,000 signatures were collected in less than 48 hours and more continue to add their names. The genetically modified (GMO) rice destroyed in the Philippines by militant activists was designed to help address vitamin A deficiency responsible for malnutrition-related disease and death affecting millions in the developing world, primarily women and children.
“The global scientific community condemns the destruction of the Philippine Department of Agriculture’s Golden Rice trials,” said Dr. C.S. Prakash, one of the letter’s sponsors and a professor of plant genetics. “It is an unconscionable criminal act to destroy research being conducted in accordance with international safety norms.”
The open letter noted that regulatory systems around the world mandate the thorough testing of new GM crops to ensure there are no unintended, harmful effects either from their cultivation or their consumption. The destroyed research was part of controlled tests being conducted by the International Rice Research Institute and the Philippine Department of Agriculture.
“New technologies often evoke fears that they may be dangerous,” added Dr. Nina Fedoroff, another sponsor and professor of plant genomics and author of ‘Mendel in the Kitchen’. “Destroying a new technology based on such fears without testing its safety and efficacy can deprive humanity of a very valuable and much-needed advance.”
Petitioners signing the letter stated they equally condemn the use of rumors and misinformation by groups seeking raise unwarranted fears to incite acts of destruction. Scientists and supporters are asking groups who opposed Golden Rice and who have endorsed similar acts of sabotage, such as Greenpeace International and their local affiliates, to stop making unfounded claims and to put a stop the criminal destruction of GM research.
A full copy of the open letter can be found online here: http://www.change.org/petitions/global-scientific-community-condemns-the-recent-destruction-of-field-trials-of-golden-rice-in-the-philippines .