Despite protests last spring, the Rothamsted Research Institute plans to move forward with planting genetically modified wheat in Hertfordshire, England, in 2013.
Anti-GM activists organized a protest last spring in front of the institute and had threatened to enter the site and destroy field trials indiscriminately. Despite their attempts, the protestors were not able to destroy any fields. One intruder was charged with criminal damage after allegedly scaling the fencing and sprinkling natural wheat.
The researchers at the institute have been working to develop the world’s first GM wheat strain that would repel insects rather than killing them. The hope is that this wheat would not need large doses of chemical insecticides if the plants can repel the insects instead.
With plans to proceed with further testing, security concerns are top of mind for the institute.
“The level and extent of the security next year will be dependent on any threats we receive to destroy the experiment,” a spokesman for the institute told The Daily Telegraph. “We do hope opposition groups (the ones who refused to speak with us this year), accept our invitations to engage in discussions with us next year.”
The news of the research comes just days after it was announced that the United Kingdom may be more interested in developing more GM crops and encouraged the European Union to make it easier to use GM crops.
Two other GM crop trials are coming to an end in the UK, with one in Norfolk and one in Cambridge. They will not be planted again next year, and there are no pending applications for more experiments.