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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
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New Indian Science Minister: 'Science Is Not Clear' on GM Crops
31 October 2012 7:29 am
NEW DELHI—India's new science minister, S. Jaipal Reddy, appears to take a skeptical approach with regard to one of the country's hottest issues: genetically modified (GM) crops. In response to questions from Science at a press conference on Monday, Reddy said "the science is not clear."
Reddy, a graduate in English and a career politician who's known as one of India's finest orators, took over as science minister on Monday in a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In his new job, he will have to navigate the highly charged debate on GM crops. The prime minister's 32-member Scientific Advisory Council expressed its bold support for genetic engineering and biotechnology in a report earlier this month. But on 17 October, an expert panel appointed by India's Supreme Court to advise it on a case recommended a 10-year moratorium on GM crop field trials.
Backers of those studies say the moratorium, if granted, would deal the field a devastating setback and hurt India's development. In a hearing on Monday, the court asked the defendants, including the Indian government and agricultural biotech giant Monsanto, to file briefs in the case by 9 November.
Reddy emphasized that adoption or rejection of GM crops "is not an ideological issue but a scientific issue." While declining to give his views on specific questions because the issue is in court, he said the "final scientific view has not emerged even at the global level."
In his remarks, Reddy also said he aims to help increase the number of scientific researchers from 154,000 to 254,000 over the next five years in an attempt to take India from 12th to 5th place in the global ranking of countries by number of published science papers.