GM WATCH COMMENT: CSIRO is advertising the book below as, "A balanced, scientific perspective on the issues surrounding genetically modified crops." And they describe its author, Jennifer Thomson, as an "international author who has much credibility" and who is "[i]nternationally respected".

These statements are seriously open to question. Thomson is a board member of AfricaBio, a biotech industry-backed body which lobbies agressively for GM crops in Africa and beyond. According to an article in the science journal Nature, "AfricaBio, along with agribiotech companies and other pro-biotech campaigners, is now fighting tooth and nail, often by somewhat controversial methods, to spread the word about GM crops... the idea is to improve GM's image." The article says that, "the group's methods would be considered in some countries to be blatant media manipulation."

Thomson's lobbying doesn't stop there. She's also an advisor to the biotech-industry funded Council for Biotechnology Information in the US, a Board Member of the biotech-industry backed ISAAA, and Chair of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, which receives backing from the industry and USAID to introduce GM crops into Africa.

In her lobbying in Australia, Thomson has not shown any particular scruples about honesty or accuracy. (Jennifer Thomson lying Down Under)

None of which is likely to worry the publisher of this book. Although supposedly a public sector body, Dr. Richard Hindmarsh in an article in the Journal of Australian Political Economy, describes CSIRO as having "a long history of involvement with intensive agricultural R&D and collaboration with agribusiness multinationals, and as having become increasingly dependent upon industry funding."

John Stocker, CSIRO's former chief executive has been frank about CSIRO's agenda, "Yes, we do find that it is often the best strategy to get into bed with these companies."


GM Crops
The Impact and the Potential Jennifer Thomson
University of Capetown
Illustrations 176 pages, 230 x 155 mm
Publication date: December 2006
Paperback - ISBN: 0643091602 - AU $39.95


Genetically modified crops - are they monsters of nature or could they provide answers to some of our most pressing environmental concerns? Will they create superweeds, run amock and change life as we know it, or are these fears greatly exaggerated?

Internationally respected microbiologist Jennifer Thomson takes us through the issues and concerns surrounding the development of genetically modified crops and their impacts on the environment. She explains how such crops are developed and assessed and discusses the likelihood of negative effects on biodiversity, pollen spread, and organic farming. GM crops may have tremendous potential for addressing some of the world's environmental problems and protecting the planet, particularly in developing countries - in fact we could face more harm if some of these technologies are not adopted.


*Up to date ecological discussion

*International focus with some third world food examples *High profile international author who has much credibility as a food research and molecular genetics expert



*Classical plant breeding and GM technology *Insect resistant crops *Herbicide tolerant crops *Virus resistant and drought tolerant crops *Effects on biodiversity *Crops behaving badly: pollen spread, its prevention and co-existence of GM crops with conventional varieties *When plants don't come from their parents - horizontal gene transfer *Biosafety regulatory, trade and legal issues *Future watch *Glossary *Index


Economists and political activists, farmers, agriculturalists, environmentalists and school teachers.

Author Information

Jennifer Thomson is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She has run laboratories at the forefront of GM research in South Africa since 1978. Her current research interest is the development of maize resistant to the African maize streak virus and tolerant to drought. She is a world-renowned leader in the field of GM crops and has been a popular speaker at conferences on the topic throughout the world. She is on the board of a number of biotechnology organisations including the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), based in Nairobi, of which she is the board Chair.