Swiss voters this week (November 27) approved a five-year agricultural ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Switzerland is not a member of the EU, and the new law will have no effect on GMO research, which remains legal in Switzerland. Nevertheless, the referendum has been closely watched by plant scientists throughout Europe, some of whom made dire predictions about what the result could mean for plant research.

The vote sends an anti-GMO signal that could influence discussion throughout Europe, Mark Stitt, managing director of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Golm, Germany, told The Scientist. "Opponents of GMOs will try to use this to strengthen their case," he said. And this will not help the cause of European plant scientists trying to find new methods of increasing global food production to feed a rapidly expanding world population, he said, adding that Europe is falling behind other...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?