“Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after growing GM crops.” It is no minor claim. Genetically modified crops revolutionise agriculture – but are controversial. They will feed the world, reduce the need for pesticides and fertilisers, and add health-protecting nutrients to those who consume them, say some. They are an ecological disaster in the making, say others, and impoverish the Third World farmers who grow them. Often quoted is the example of suicides among Indian farmers who grow GM crops. Ian Plewis examines the data and the conclusion.