Organisation - February 15, 2005

Apple trees destroyed

All the transgenic apple trees planted last October by Plant Research International have been destroyed.

It appears that all 420 trees were broken by hand. A month after the destruction took place a group called the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility. The test plot contained two-year-old trees fitted with a barleycorn gene, which produces a protein against which the common disease apple scab is not resistant. The aim of the research is to reduce the use of crop protection agents. A third of all pesticides used in the Netherlands are used in apple growing, and eighty percent of these are used to fight apple scab. Project leader Dr Frans Krens is disappointed at the destruction: “We are trying to answer scientific questions, like to what extent can the use of GMOs reduce the use of pesticides. These apples were never destined for the market.” The trees have been left in the hope that they will sprout again.

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