Thirty years ago this month, scientists introduced a foreign gene into plant cells for the first time. Genetically modified (GM) plant technology was born. But, almost 20 years after the research was first used commercially, no GM crops are sold in the UK. Indeed, the use of GM plants is strictly regulated throughout the EU. This is in stark contrast to other developed countries such as the USA, Canada and China, where the supply of staples such as maize, cotton and soya beans now comes predominantly from GM plants. So why has the UK been so slow to follow in the footsteps of other global powers?