MILAN Since he was appointed in April this year, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio — Italian Minister for Agricultural and Forestry Policy — has declared war on any genetically modified organism of agricultural interest. And the fight against GMOs will be central to the electoral program of his Party, the Greens, during the Italian general election campaign next spring.

The stand adopted by Pecoraro Scanio and his Party could well embarrass the Centre–Left coalition led by Giuliano Amato. The coalition cannot afford to clash with the Greens on a subject that stirs up such strong emotions in the Italian public — emotions that are not diminished by widespread ignorance of the facts.

With no more than 40 biotech companies, Italy does not have a strong position in the European life sciences market, which includes more than a thousand firms. Of the 8,013 biotech patents filed with the European Patent Office during the...

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