What is genetic modification (GM) and what are the pros and cons of it? The objective is to improve the resistance of crops to weed-killer, disease and rot by transferring to them genetic material (DNA) from another unrelated plant or animal. The practice is widespread in the US, where it has aroused little political or public protest. The main GM crop is soya beans followed by maize, oilseed rape, potatoes and tomatoes. Supporters of GM says it represents the only way to increase global food productivity and tackle world starvation. It will allow farmers to grow crops in poor conditions and lessen the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and water.It will mean that food stays fresh longer and is easier to handle. No government or official agency has yet declared flatly that GM foods are unsafe. Opponents say that antibiotic genes could pass into humans, increasing susceptibility to disease, including cancer and meningitis. GM crops may release spores that will affect conventionally grown crops, damaging the environment and destroying wildlife.