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Russian scientists cautious about genetically modified food


MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia must look into the implications of genetically- modified food and make sure they are safe before widely introducing them, a group of experts attending a seminar on the issue said Tuesday.

"Genetically modified plants and animals may cause completely unexpected processes and consequences," Irina Yermakova, a senior scientist at the Institute for Higher Neural Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said at the seminar titled Problems of the Use of Genetically Modified (GM) Sources in Food Production.

The scientist called for more extensive research into the impact of GM organisms on people. She said her experiment, which involved feeding rats GM soy, had revealed high mortality rates and growth retardation among offspring. Yermakova also proposed a ban on imports of transgenic products.

President of the Public Association of Genetic Safety Alexander Baranov spoke in favor of government spending on research related the safety of GM foods. "We must unite to safeguard the future of mankind. We are letting the genie out of the bottle but cannot foresee the consequences," he said.

Those attending the seminar called for the adoption of a law on safety requirements for GM foods and mechanisms to verify compliance with such requirements.

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