Can it be true, can 2015 really be the GMO year? Well, before any rumour starts that 2015 is nothing more than a genetically-modified clone of 2014, let me reassure everyone that we do have a perfectly good Gregorian New Year that conforms with all of the necessary regulations. It is unlikely to escape the confines of your kitchen wall or cross-pollinate 2016, 1464 in the Armenian calendar, anytime from 2071 to 5117 depending on which one of the Hindu calendars you prefer, or indeed any of the other current, obsolete, proposed or fictitious calendars that one cares to mention. So what is special about 2015? On the face of it, the answer is simple; the EU's attitude to GMOs may be about to change. But in true EU style, the actuality is not simple at all. Technically, the cultivation of genetically modified crops has been possible in the EU for some time, but only one crop (an insect resistant maize) has been approved and is grown, with 90% of it's production being in one country (Spain). New legislation will allow for individual member countries to impose their own ban on GMO cultivation, which in theory will increase the likelihood of more GM crops being approved at EU level. Needless to say, the anti-GMO lobby are distraught, and the pro-GMO lobby are...distraught! Congratulations, EU! Recently a good friend from the USA stayed with us for a few days. Prompted by one of my earlier blogs (the Nespresso experience), one of our conversations revolved around the ethics of agricultural big business, specifically Monsanto and the GMO debate. Our friend was very definite in her condemnation, and she is certainly not alone in that. It caused me to revisit my experiences; in the 80s I undertook several major projects with recombinant bovine somatotrophin supplied (gratis) by Monsanto. For me, the experience was problem-free, I had full control over publication and no interference from the company whatsoever. Others do not share that view, I know, and many reasonable people will worry that Monsanto will exploit the EU's new position. Others who are less sensible will continue to offer extreme views, witness the (nameless) blog that declared "Monsanto, now breeding cows with holes!" and suggested that this was a prelude to eugenic research on children to be conducted in Hawaii as Monsanto sought to take over the world. Mark Lynas is definitely in the sensible category, an environmental campaigner and author who for many years was instrumental in developing the anti-GMO lobby in the UK. Until 2013 that is, when he very publicly apologised and declared "I got it wrong". He went on: "The anti-GM Movement was also explicitly an anti-science movement…afraid of scientific powers being used secretly for unnatural ends…unaware that the real Frankenstein’s monster was not GM technology, but our (the Movement’s) reaction against it" Will GM crops feed the world? Blogging in the Huffington Post recently*, Robert T Fraley (Executive VP, Monsanto) emphasised that GM is only one of a number of technological advances that are both needed and possible. His article is balanced and scientifically credible, in my view. I can only encourage open-mindedness, remind you to be wary of extreme views and applaud those brave enough to change their minds.