Spot the difference: rice paddy fields in ChinaIn China, millions of small farmers are finding the GM crops have their uses. Chinese scientists have concentrated on making GE rice, the most important food crop in China, which resists major pest insects. They've done much the same with wheat, tomatoes and sweet peppers, making them resistant to pests and diseases. Other similarly altered food crops are coming soon. The short-term benefits are obvious. More food, less need for pesticides and many fewer pesticide poisonings. Unfortunately, there's only likely to be a brief breathing space before the bugs and diseases become used to these GE crops.

But you can see the difference in approach, can't you? The Chinese are mostly interested in growing GE crops to help them produce more food. In North America and Europe, GE crops have mostly been designed around a particular company's own brand of herbicide sprays which the farmer must buy.