The state of play in research and development on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the European Union (EU) is comprehensively assessed in a new report from the European Science and Technology Observatory. The report, undertaken for the European Commission, addresses one key question: "Which agricultural GM plants are most likely to be developed up to the market level in the next decade?"

The report reveals one dramatic finding: the number of field-based trials of GM crops in the EU has fallen by almost 80% since 1998. One important reason for this startling drop is the current web of legal uncertainties and confusion surrounding the development of GMOs. Different member states have different legislation, which is subject to differing interpretations.

And on April 10 the European Commission had to formally notify 12 member states that they have missed the deadline for transposing new EU legislation into national law. The EU...

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