New sugar beets developed
with the help of modern biotechnology are more benign to wild birds
than their conventional relatives, according to British researchers.
The scientists studied the impact of the introduction of genetically
modified sugar beets on the bird population. They found that the herbicide-tolerant
sugar beets, which require less frequent spraying against weeds, allowed
the nesting of wild birds that are generally not found in conventional
fields. While the trial included a comparatively small parcel of land,
the researchers are optimistic that similar results could be achieved
in larger field trials. The results were published in the Proceedings
of the Royal Society.