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The gene cuisine

Europe is in a mess over genetically modified foods. From tomato purée to margarine, genetically engineered products are already available in the shops. Tom Wilkie assesses the health, commercial and regulatory implications of this new technology

By Tom Wilkie   May 1998

Ever since Frankenstein, science fiction writers have sought to shock their readers with tales of human chimeras. If there was to be an abuse of biology to parallel physics’ atomic mushroom cloud, then it would surely be man-made men.

No one thought that sweetcorn, tomato paste and soya beans would be the real battlegrounds of biology. It is an apt illustration of the hazards of futurology that the bio-technology issue which is now dividing Europe from the US and has set members of the EU against each other is that of genetically modified foods. By contrast, the application of genetics…

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