Guy Poppy is Head of Biodiversity and Ecology at Southampton University. He is also part of CropGen, the biotech industry-funded lobby group set up to promote GM crops. According to the profile provided by CropGen, he is also:
- Advisor on EU project 'Environmental impact of transgenic plants on beneficial insects'
- Member of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council/Natural Environmental Research Council steering committee on gene flow in plants and microorganisms initiative
- Elected a Fellow of the Institute of Biology FIBiol in 2001
- Member of EU 'GM expert group' assessing EU research
- McMaster visiting Fellow to Australia (2001) to advise Government and Research organisations re:GM biosafety issues
They also say he is 'a member of the Office of Science & Technology list of experts for responding to GM issues.'
Among the projects he oversees at Southampton is a BBSRC funded-project undertaken in collaboration with Syngenta on 'Defining endpoints for the risk assessment of long-term environmental impacts of genetically modified crops'. Failure to consider such endpoints can lead to poor science, says Poppy, giving as examples Bt and monarchs and GNA lectins and rats. The latter is a reference to Dr Arpad Pusztai's research. Poppy offers no explanation of how 'long-term environmental impacts' would have been relevant to Pusztai's feeding study or in whjat sense it constituted 'poor science'.
Prior to Southampton, Poppy worked from 1991-2001 for the Institute of Arable Crops Research (IACR), now Rothamsted . In his GM-related research Poppy emphasised the importance of judging the impact of a GM plant against that of a conventional insecticide. This is a comparison very much encouraged by the biotechnology industry because they feel that comparison with existing intensive farming systems reliant on insecticides is likely to yield positive results for the GM crop. What this conveniently ignores, however, is the fact that farmers are in any case increasingly reducing their dependence on insecticides by developing systems of integrated crop management. In some
cases this allows them to dispense with insecticides altogether.