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Date:

April 3, 2001

Subject:

Trader Joe's; USDA Economic Report; Cowardly Vandals;

 

After Starbucks fell like a pack of cards, now Trade Joe's is being
targeted for action!

Now they're going to swamp the CEO of Trader Joe's for supporting biotech.
You may want to call and express your opinion to:

Dan Bane, CEO at (626) 441-1177, or fax him at (626) 441- 9573.

----------
Source: Greenpeace USA

True Food Network Action Alert ::: What? ::: National Day of Action
against Trader Joe's: Stop Genetically Engineered Foods! ::: Who? :::
Greenpeace, GE Free L.A. and North West Resistance Against Genetic
Engineering (NW RAGE) have launched campaigns against food retailer Trader
Joe's. :: When? ::: Tuesday April 17th is a national day of action against
Trader Joe's. ::: Where? ::: Trader Joe's has stores in 14 states
(Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Virginia, and Washington), and consumers in all of these states should be
heard : :: Why? ::: Though they have a reputation for being a leader in
food- labeling issues, Trader Joe's has dismissed the GMO concerns of
thousands of consumers. Trader Joe's demands milk free from the
controversial genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH. They carry and
promote several organic products under their brand name and claim to
support farmers.

However, by continuing to support genetically engineered food, Trader
Joe's is threatening organic and small family farmers- and consumer
health. Genetic engineering is a scientific experiment that poses threats
to our health and the environment.

In recent press statements, Trader Joe's has repeated the biotech industry
line that genetically engineered foods are no less nutritious than their
non-genetically engineered counterparts, and that they are sanctioned by
the FDA as being perfectly safe. They have even gone so far as to say that
the concern over GE foods is "hysteria." They have ignored or refused
attempts by several groups to meet with them and discuss very serious
concerns about genetic engineering. Consumers rely on companies like
Trader Joe's to do the right thing.

::: How can I get involved? :::
--- Download Greenpeace leaflets and petitions:
http://www.truefoodnow.org/inside_scoop/traderjoes_whatyoucando.html

Pass them out at your neighborhood Trader Joe's on April 17th --- Connect
with local activists for a demonstration. Contact
heather.whitehead@sfo.greenpeace.org for activists or events in your area.
--- Organize a call-in day. Ask friends and family to call or fax Trader
Joe's on April 17th asking them to remove genetically engineered
ingredients from their store brand products. Call Dan Bane, CEO at (626)
441-1177, or fax him at (626) 441- 9573.

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Information on Biosafety

An excellent site that has compiled many biosafety related documents
including conference proceedings related to risk assessment, OECD
harmonization and UNEP publications can be found at:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotech/biosafe.html

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Golden Rice: The pot at the end of the rainbow, or just fool's gold?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will be airing a radio documentary
entitled "Golden Rice: The pot at the end of the rainbow, or just fool's
gold?" this Saturday at noon (April 7, 2001) under their science program
'Quirks'. There will be audio stream of the program after it is aired on
Saturday at

http://cbc.ca/quirks/

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Economic Issues in Biotechnology: Report

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aib762/

Economic Issues in Agricultural Biotechnology

By Robbin Shoemaker, Joy Harwood, Kelly Day-Rubenstein, Terri Dunahay,
Paul Heisey, Linwood Hoffman, Cassandra Klotz-Ingram, William Lin,
Lorraine Mitchell, William McBride, Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo

ERS Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 762. 64 pp, March 2001

This report analyzes the economic aspects of several key
areas--agricultural research policy, industry structure, production and
marketing, consumer issues, and future world food demand--where
agricultural biotechnology is dramatically affecting the public policy
agenda.

Keywords: biotechnology, economics, adoption, patents, research policy,
markets, market segregation, identity preservation

* Introduction, * Background * Important Changes in the Agricultural Input
Industry, * Forces Driving Changes in the Agricultural Input
Industry--Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, * Trends and Contributing
Factors * Farm-Level Effects of Adopting Genetically Engineered
Crops--Preliminary Evidence from the U.S. Experience, * Enhanced Output
Traits and Market Coordination, * Implications of Testing and Segregating
Nonbiotech Crops for Grain Grades and Standards, * Public Policy
Considerations * Consumer Acceptance, * Public and Private Agricultural
Research, * Meeting World Food Demand--The Role of Biotechnology, *
Conclusion

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

VANDALISM OF TREES COWARDLY, NOT CARING

March 28, Oregon Statesman Journal, Editorial

(Forwarded by: "Strauss, Steve" )

The OSU experiments were crucial to important genetic research. There are
legitimate questions to be asked about genetic research, and the need to
balance safety with the incredible benefits it seems to promise.

However, those questions weren't answered, or even asked, by the thugs who
mowed, hacked and sliced into 900 trees being grown by Oregon State
University scientists on plots in Corvallis and Klamath Falls.

The perpetrators of last week's nighttime raids described themselves in a
statement as "concerned OSU students and alumni." Real OSU students and
alumni, and Oregonians in general, should be outraged at these acts.

The trees were vital to OSU's experiments on how gene research can be used
to rapidly grow trees for wood and wood products. As the world's
population soars, this is crucially important.

Humans can satisfy the growing demand for wood by eventually using all the
Earth's great open spaces to grow harvest trees. But the better course
would be to use scientific advances to raise trees as quickly as possible,
using as little land as possible. OSU's poplars - a mix of conventional
hybrids and genetically modified ones - were helping toward that goal. The
experiments were closely monitored, with safeguards to prevent genetically
modified material from spreading.

Whoever vandalized them destroyed years of scientists' work.

The perpetrators also wasted federal and state tax money that, along with
private grants, funded the research. And they terrorized other scientists
who fear for their own experiments, even if they don't involve gene
studies. It's ironic that some of the trees were being used to study what
kind of risks might be associated with genetic modifications. The public
needs proven research, not groundless fears, so citizens can responsibly
decide what trade-offs to make. By destroying these trees, the vandals
postponed the day when that information will be available.

Like last June's vandalism to two Canby greenhouses, which destroyed years
of studies on experimental grasses, this is a slimy way to try to make a
point.There can't be that many people who have a grudge against genetic
engineering, who know just where the OSU test plots are located and just
how to kill trees of varying ages. Anyone who puts those clues together
and comes up with names should pass them along to the FBI and Oregon State
Police.

Whoever's responsible for trashing OSU's trees, you can call them
terrorists. You can call them cowards. But don't call them "concerned."

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Calling for More Bioterrorism......

See below for a chilling Email sent to a biotech activist related
newsgroup:
---

From: DownSouth RAGE
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 21:07:56 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [southrage] a bit on research

hi all-
many people have asked me how to go about researching what is out there
and where. check out the research section on the BAN web site. its a bit
outdated in places, but the general content
is good. http://www.tao.ca/~ban.research.htm

one thing to do is use google, and search stuff out there first. for
example, just now i was starting to do some web research on University of
Tennessee. you can bet that any land-grant university in an agricultural
area will have beefy biotech research departments. dont forget ag isn't
only plant food. chances are any ag school will have as much GE animal
stuff going on as plants.

so using UT as an example, after typing in "University of Tennessee
biotechnology" in google, i came up with a link to the UT agricultural
experiment station. these are at almost every land grant state university.
so starting with this link: (open a new window)

http://web.utk.edu/~taescomm/

you'll see many interesting links on this page. at the bottom left you see
"millie and animal cloning research" - gee that sounds interesting!

click there and you get this:
http://web.utk.edu/~taescomm/utcloneproject.html

click on animal science department, and you have lists of all the faculty
in that dept. for when you want to descend on their lab wearing freaky
mutant cow costumes and videotape them trying to defend their mad science,
or lock down to the cloning machine or whatever;) - if you click on
"research" you'll come to all the 1999-2000 animal science research
projects and who is in charge of them. do the same thing in plant
pathology, genetics and breeding, molecular biology, or any other similar
sounding field of study. search the engine on the university's main page,
using words like "transgenic (fish, crops, plants, trees)", or "genetic
engineering" or "biotechnology".

a lot of times you will find a lot of stuff linked under "biotechnology"
that is medical/pharmaceutical based. a lot of times the ag stuff is
listed as "agricultural biotechnology". the medical stuff is harder to
target in the general public's mind, and usually contained in a lab, so
its hard to argue on environmental grounds. but that sector uses a lot of
transgenic mice and other lab animals, and works on producing human
medicine in cloned animals' organs.

i'll leave it at that for now, but i encourage folks to start researching
this stuff, and getting a grip on who is doing what, so we can confront
and expose them personally rather than just in the marketplace.

long live the seed!
=====
DownSouth Resistance Against Genetic Engineering (RAGE)
http://liberated.tao.ca/dsrage.htm
Bioengineering Action Network
http://www.tao.ca/~ban
*join the movement to protect the fabric of life*
======

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

The consumer and genetically modified food will be the focus of NABC 2001
in Chicago

Two decades ago, agricultural bio-technology was discussed in terms of
great promise: increased food and fiber production for a burgeoning world
population, reduced pollution, improved food quality, and new
pharmaceuticals, to name just a few. Today, discoveries and innovations in
biotechnology are reported regularly by the mass media around the world.
However, as biotech moves closer to fulfilling those promises, there is
clearly a need for forums for open discussion of potential concerns over
food safety, environmental risk, and societal and ethical issues.

Similar concerns could be raised with respect to other technologies within
agriculture and society at large. The focus of concern on agbiotech may be
viewed as a debate over technological progress itself. It is noteworthy
that, traditionally, consumers have been slow to accept new technologies
associated with food production: for example, can-ning, fast-freezing,
pasteurization of milk, margarine, hybrid corn, artificial insemination of
farm animals, and microwave cooking were regarded initially with
skepticism.

The food-related biotechnology issues that consumers, the media, and
advocacy groups are talking about will be the focus of NABC's 2001 Annual
Meeting, May 22-24 in Chicago: High Anxiety and Biotech-nology: Who's
Buying, Who's Not, and Why?, organized jointly by the University of
Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Iowa State University.

Viewpoints on the theme Lenses to Learn From will be provided by Michael
Jacobson (Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, DC),
Napoleon Juanillo (Department of Human and Community Development,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Joseph Hotchkiss (Institute
of Food Science and the Institute for Comparative and Environmental
Toxicology, Cornell University), and Nancy Millis (Emeritus Professor of
Microbiology, University of Melbourne).

How the Lens of the Consumer is Influenced will be addressed by Kerry
Smith (Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy), C.S.
Prakash (Center for Plant Biotechnology Research, Tuskegee University),
and Carole Tucker Foreman (Consumer Federation of America's Food Policy
Institute).

Divergent Lenses of the Present and Future will elicit viewpoints from: a
farmer (David Erickson, grower of 3,000 acres of corn and soybean in
Illinois), a scientist (Anatole Krattiger, bioDevelopments LLC, Ithaca), a
consumer perspective (Mark Sagoff, Institute for Philosophy and Public
Policy, University of Maryland), the European Community (Dirk Toet,
Nestlé, Vevey, Switzer-land), a bioethicist (Gary Comstock, Iowa State
University Bioethics Institute), and the food industry (Susan Harlander,
BIOrational Consultants, Minneapolis). Continuing the NABC tradition of
providing a forum for people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints to meet
in an environment conducive to the exchange of ideas, Workshops will be
structured such that each participant will have the opportunity to discuss
the themes presented by the speakers and the issues they raise, to explore
opportunities, and, if appropriate, to make recommendations. Key issues
will be identified in the Workshops, and statements of consensus and areas
of disagreement recorded. Potential policy statements will be drafted to
present to leaders in government, industry, and agriculture, for their
consideration and action.

The keynote dinner speaker will be Tony van der Haegen, Minister-Counselor
for the European Commission Delegation, Washington, DC, and lunch-time
talks will be provided by Carlos Barroto (Center for Genetic Engineering
and Bio-technology, Havana, Cuba), and by Stanley H. Abramson, Esq.
(Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin, and Kahn, PLLC) who specializes in biotech,
food safety, and environmental law. A Chicago and midwest media panel
discussion will be moderated by Jon D. Miller, Director of the Center for
Biomedical Communica-tions, Northwestern University Medical School. To
register, visit http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/research/nabc2001/welcome.html or
call NABC at 607-254-4856

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

US FDA extends comments on bio-food rules until May 3

Reuters; April 2, 2001

WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) - The Food and Drug Administration said
Monday it would give the U.S. food industry, consumer groups and others an
extra month to submit suggestions on the agency's plan to require biotech
firms to give at least 120 days' notice before putting a new gene-altered
food on the market.

The FDA set a new deadline of May 3 for public comments on a rule the
agency proposed during the final days of the Clinton administration. The
proposed rule was part of the FDA's plan to fine-tune its nearly
decade-old regulations for biotech foods. Currently, developers of
bioengineered corn, soybeans, squash and other foods are not required to
consult with the FDA before commercializing the products. "FDA took this
action to ensure that it would have the appropriate amount of information
about bioengineered foods to help to ensure that all market entry
decisions by the industry are made consistently and in full compliance
with the law," the agency said in a Federal Register notice.

Environmental groups have criticized the FDA for not requiring biotech
companies to conduct specific health and safety testing of new bio-foods.
The FDA rejected requests by consumer and green groups to require labels
on foods with gene-altered ingredients. The FDA's current rules were
developed during the administration of President George W. Bush's father,
when the biotech food industry was in its infancy. At the time, the FDA
decided to classify bio-foods as being essentially the same as
conventional foods, which meant they did not require any special tests or
labels.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Why breed distrust?

Reason Magazine; By Ronald Bailey; April 1, 2001

In January, the Food and Drug Administration released its revised
regulations for foods produced using biotechnology. The new regs were a
bit more onerous than what had come before, but not nearly enough to
satisfy some pressure groups in Washington. One such group, the Consumer
Federation of America, released a new 258-page report, Breeding Distrust:
An Assessment and Recommendations for Improving the Regulation of Plant
Derived Genetically Modified Foods. The report calls for the U.S. to model
its biotech regulations on those developed by the European Union and
Brazil-not generally considered hotbeds for technological innovation.
"Both the EU and Brazil have adopted process-oriented regulatory programs
aimed at all GM [ genetically modified] organisms," the report notes. "The
laws in the EU and Brazil broadly encompass all GM foods because they
include all GM organisms within their scope."

The FDA specifically rejected the EU and Brazilian models in 1992,
declaring that whether a food is safe depends on what's in it, not how
it's made. It further declared that "in most cases, the substances
expected to become components of food as a result of genetic modification
of a plant will be the same as or substantially similar to substances
commonly found in food, such as proteins, fats, oils and carbohydrates."
Decoding the regulation-speak, this means the agency won't regulate those
substances any more stringently than it does conventionally produced
foods. It would require more regulatory oversight if genetic modification
produced "a protein that differs significantly in structure and function,
or to modify a carbohydrate, or fat or oil, such that it differs
significantly in composition from such substances currently found in the
food."

University of Texas Law professor Thomas McGarity, co-author of the CFA
report, doesn't think too much of this standard, characterizing the FDA's
position as, "So long as you don't insert a gene for a known allergen or
snake venom, then it's probably substantially equivalent." But the FDA's
current position is simply common sense. If a non-allergenic corn protein
shows up in a tomato, so what? People have been eating corn and tomatoes
for centuries.

The current system seems to work, too. There is no known case in which a
genetically altered food crop that has been approved for sale has caused
harm to any person. McGarity, who admits that eating genetically modified
foods "hasn't adversely affected me as far as I know," pleads that "we are
only urging that the U.S. join the rest of the world in adopting a more
precautionary approach." This is a nearopen admission that McGarity and
the CFA cannot cite any credible scientific evidence that biotech crops
have caused harm to human or environmental health.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

North Dakota senate rejects ban on biotech wheat

By MATT GOURAS Associated Press Leased Line via NewsEdge Corporation (from
http://www.checkbiotech.org )

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) In a debate that split the North Dakota Senate's
farmers, senators on Monday rejected proposals for a two-year ban on
plantings of genetically modified wheat seed. Instead, they supported a
study of the implications of gene research.

"We're concerned about our customer, and our customers are telling us, 'We
do not want genetically modified wheat.' It's plain and simple," said Sen.
Ken Kroeplin, D-Hope. Opponents of the ban said it would send an
anti-technology message. It would prohibit North Dakota plantings of a
seed variety that won't be available within two years anyway, said Sen.
Terry Wanzek, R-Cleveland. "I don't believe we can build a wall around
ourselves, and expect to compete in the global market, and be isolated on
this issue," Wanzek said. "This is an international issue that requires a
coordinated effort on behalf of the whole country." Wanzek and Kroeplin
are farmers, as are the Senate's floor leaders, Republican Gary Nelson of
Casselton and Democrat Aaron Krauter of Regent. Another farmer, Rep.
Phillip Mueller, D-Wimbledon, sponsored the moratorium legislation.

It originally ordered a two-year ban on North Dakota farmers' use of
genetically modified wheat seed. It was changed in the House to allow the
planting of biotech wheat only if Canadian farmers began to produce it. On
Monday, references to a ban were removed in favor of a proposed interim
legislative study of genetic research issues. The study was approved 48-0,
and the legislation now returns to the House to see if representatives
agree with the changes.

North Dakota and Canada's western prairie provinces both grow and export
hard red spring wheat, which is used to make bakery flour, and durum, the
principal ingredient in pasta. Supporters of a ban on biotech wheat
plantings said it would reassure North Dakota's major export customers,
most of whom have indicated they do not want to buy genetically modified
wheat. "It's the message we need to send to the world, that North Dakota
is the producer of high quality," Krauter said. Monsanto Co. of St. Louis
is developing a variety of hard red spring wheat that is immune to the
effects of a Monsanto weed killer called Roundup. It would allow farmers
to spray Roundup on their fields without killing wheat plants.

The company, which has been lobbying against the biotech wheat ban, has
already developed Roundup-resistant varieties of canola and soybeans that
are popular among North Dakota farmers. Krauter and other Democratic
senators believe pressure from Monsanto has turned Republicans against the
moratorium, an allegation they deny. "We are not voting for big business,"
Wanzek said. "We are voting for the future. This issue is larger than us
and our feelings." Senators voted 30-18 to remove the moratorium from the
legislation, and voted 27-21 to reject a separate amendment that would
have allowed biotech wheat plantings if a committee of state farm groups
agreed to end the moratorium. Republicans control the Senate, 32-17, and
both votes mostly went along party lines. Two Republicans supported
keeping the moratorium, and five backed the proposal to give state farm
groups control of whether to end any biotech wheat ban.

Krauter, who raises durum and other small grains on his southwestern North
Dakota farm, said that rejecting a moratorium would help Monsanto and
other large agribusinesses keep control over the state's farming industry.
"They're producing the seed. They're producing the chemical. They're
producing the genetics," Krauter said. "And who is going to suffer in
that? It's the farmer of North Dakota." Nelson, the Senate Republican
majority leader, said other types of biotech seed have helped to cut
farmers' production costs. Nelson is a farmer himself, and said he has cut
his herbicide costs almost in half by planting Monsanto's Roundup-ready
soybeans. "That's the bottom line. That is what makes it profitable to
raise that crop," Nelson said. "I think that also is what we can look
forward to if, in the future, we have genetically modified wheat." The
bill is HB1338.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

MORE AND BETTER ONLINE INFO ON PLANT NAMES, NOXIOUS WEEDS

ARS News Service, Agricultural Research Service, USDA March 1, 2001 Hank
Becker, (301) 504-1624, hbecker@ars.usda.gov (from Plant Breeding News:
MAILSERV@MAILSERV.FAO.ORG )

For more details, see the March issue of Agricultural Research online at:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar01/plant0301.htm

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

HARNESSING SCIENCE TO BENEFIT SOCIETY

Michael M. Crow March 9, 2001 The Chronicle of Higher Education
http://chronicle.com (From Agnet Mar 6)

Scientists have made many great discoveries during the past 100 years, but
those discoveries have affected society in complex and sometimes
paradoxical ways. For example, science and technology helped drive the
economic boom of the 1990's, but they also helped amplify the gap between
the haves and have-nots in the United States and around the world. We have
already entered the knowledge economy, but our public schools remain
unable to prepare our children for the challenges of that economy. Medical
research has produced benefits that we could not have imagined a
generation ago, while health-care costs spiral out of control and 40
million Americans lack health insurance. How can we design a science
policy that will distribute the benefits of scientific discoveries more
equitably, and will foster research that addresses our most critical
social needs?

Vannevar Bush's 1945 report, Science, the Endless Frontier, proposed an
informal contract between science and society that became the foundation
of the federal government's financial support for research. In exchange
for the government's money, scientists were expected to advance the war
against disease, ensure national security, and create jobs. But since the
end of the cold war, we have more often rationalized federal spending on
science and technology in terms of their contributions to economic growth
and, more recently, of their capacity to extend the human life span.
Various academic economists have pointed out the high rates of return on
investments in research and development; last year, Federal Reserve
Chairman Alan Greenspan repeatedly cited unexpected advances in technology
as the primary driver of the nation's record-breaking economic performance.

Science is certainly a significant contributor to economic growth, but
that narrow view ignores much of what research can accomplish. We need to
think of ways to link scientific research more closely to the societal
results that we want to achieve. Two standard assumptions from the past
are far too simple to be productive guides to today's complex science
policy: that socially optimal outcomes will result from the amalgamation
of the results of individual scientific projects, and that science always
benefits humanity.

Our current science policy focuses on money, and advocates often urge that
we double our research budget. Yet, while data from the National Science
Foundation show that we rank first in the world -- by far -- in spending
on biomedical research, we rank only 24th in health attainment, according
to the World Health Organization. If the amalgamation of the results of
thousands of high-quality experiments produced the best results for
society, Americans would be healthier. One problem is that the benefits of
health research are not distributed fairly throughout the population. It
is far too glib to suggest that such problems have nothing to do with
science policy. The types of research that we choose to perform strongly
influence how the benefits of that research are distributed. In
particular, knowledge and innovation that drive up health-care costs can
lead to reduced access to health care by poor people.

To the extent that current science policy tries to incorporate
considerations of societal outcomes into the national research agenda, it
does so through very small and rather marginalized programs like the
human-dimensions component of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and
the part of the Human Genome Project that deals with its ethical, legal,
and social implications. Such programs have neither the mandate nor the
capability to redesign federal research-and-development priorities so that
they are more responsive to social needs.

The problem of distribution is only one of the issues that we need to
think about more clearly in designing our R&D policies. Last year, in an
issue of Wired magazine, Bill Joy, cofounder and chief scientist of Sun
Microsystems, pointed out that likely advances in the areas of
nanotechnology, biotechnology, and robotics may threaten our well-being.
In particular, Joy argued that progress in those areas will, for the first
time in history, enable people to unleash technologies of considerable
destructive power -- designer pathogens, for example -- without needing a
sophisticated technological infrastructure. While I agree with Joy that we
need to acknowledge the potential downside that accompanies the tremendous
promise of those and other frontier areas of science, we must also realize
that, while negative outcomes are conceivable, they are by no means
inevitable. Science is discovery, and discovery opens a range of
alternative paths to society.

What we must begin to do -- and what our current science policy fails to
even consider -- is to search for and follow the most socially beneficial
paths. That means that we must design R&D policies that respond to the
complex societal context within which science and technology are applied.
Our scientific and technical abilities far outstrip our knowledge of the
relationship between research and its outcomes, and the sophistication of
the methods we use to make decisions about science policy.

Consider, as an example, the science of crop genetics. Our quest for
expanded yields, year-round products, reduced perishability, and other
improvements has resulted in the development of genetically modified
organisms. Introduction of those products has created a firestorm of
controversy, first in Europe and now in North America and Asia. Our
science policy failed to consider the outcomes that society desired, and
the results were widely perceived as harmful to human health, the
environment, and consumers' ability to make choices. Neither policymakers
nor scientists adequately connected the research to outcomes that society
wants. What if, at the beginning, we had linked research on crop genetics
with popular goals like reducing the use of fertilizers in polluted areas
of California and the upper Midwest, or stabilizing maize yields in
southern Africa? The research might have followed different paths. The
controversy surely would not have been as damaging.

The social outcomes of science are rarely considered in a science policy
that focuses on financial support and the conduct of research. For
instance, the first draft of the human genome will have profound effects
on medical care, as well as on food production and consumption, health
insurance, future research, and possibly even marriage and human
evolution. It is fair to say that most of those outcomes have been much
less seriously considered and debated than the questions of who should
pay, and how much they should pay, for sequencing the genome. If we do not
consider the social implications of our science programs, we run the risk
of generating knowledge that complicates society's problems, rather than
solves them. No one should think that I am arguing for a master plan to
guide the conduct and output of science. I am simply saying that science
policy must broaden its view. It must incorporate the new industries that
research could produce; the new skills those industries would require; the
social implications of those industries and their products; the new
institutions we might need to manage those industries, teach those skills,
and respond to those implications; the new partnerships among academe,
government, and business to transfer knowledge about the research; and the
ways in which each change affects all the others.

To think about science policy in those terms, we will need better ways to
assess the social and economic impacts of scientific discoveries. But more
importantly, we will need to move beyond our current priority-setting
process for research and development -- which is at heart a Darwinian
competition among granting agencies, foundations, businesses, and
researchers seeking to expand their own slices of the budgetary pie.
Simply put, science policy must be supported by the same types of goal
setting, analyses, and forecasts that guide other critical areas of
national policy, like defense and economics, and that the private sector
uses to develop business and investment plans.

Science and its power continue to advance, yet our ability to harness that
power for maximum social benefit remains stagnant. That mismatch means
that the societal costs of our current approach to science policy are
likely to grow in the future. Policies that focus on social outcomes are a
key part of the solution.

Michael M. Crow is the executive vice provost and a professor of science
policy at Columbia University.