Sir, – As noted in last week's edition of The SF, this is the centenary year of the Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR).

One hundred years ago, after the Great War , it was recognised in Scotland that we had to up our game if we wished to be at the forefront of plant genetics. The war had shown how dependent the whole of the UK was on imported food and when supply chains no longer worked it was clear we had to increase the productivity of home grown food ... Sound familiar?

So, once more we must ensure Scotland is at the forefront in the science of plant genetics.

Gene editing is a game changer. The Pfizer vaccine is based on gene therapy and will save millions if lives and if the virus mutates, scientists can use gene therapy if needed to tweak the vaccine.

We have in Scotland a government which believes using gene therapy to prevent a disease in humans is its top priority but to do so in plants is fundamentally wrong and must be banned.

SSCR is one of 28 organisations that signed a letter to the Scottish Government stating that Scotland as a nation would be prevented from future innovations in agriculture by such a ban. It was headlined: 'Sense about science'.

I felt sorry for Fergus Ewing at the virtual Oxford Farming Conference when asked to justify a ban on gene edited crops in Scotland. For once, his mantra that all ills would be cured if Scotland joined the EU was absent.

There is a new green revolution coming and if Scotland is to be at the races, our government needs to have the bold vision that our forebears had 100 years ago. My hope is that our government invites SSCR to have a conversation about this policy – that would be our best 100-year birthday present indeed.

Gordon Rennie

Abercrombie House,

St Monans,