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February 20, 2001


Conway to GP; Consumers Upbeat; Watch What You Say!; Hot


An Earlier Letter from Dr. Gordon Conway to Greenpeace in response to Dr.
Vandana Shiva's Report, "The Golden Hoax"

18 February http://www.biotech-info.net/new.html#thisweek (Posted to GMF
News on Scope at

THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION January 22, 2001 From: Gordon Conway To Dr.
Doug Parr, Greenpeace, Canonbury Villas, London N1 2PN England

Peter Melchett wrote suggesting that it would be useful if I responded to
the report by Dr. Vandana Shiva entitled "The Golden Rice Hoax". I am
pleased to do so and I am also enclosing background information on Vitamin
A deficiency disorders and the Foundation's role in the development of
Golden Rice that you may find informative.

First, it should be stated that we do not consider Golden Rice the
solution to the vitamin A deficiency problem. Rather, it provides an
excellent complement to fruits, vegetables and animal products in the
diet, and to various fortified foods and vitamin supplements. Complete
balanced diets are the best solution, but the poorer families are, the
less likely it is that their children will receive a balanced diet and the
more likely they will be dependent on cheap food staples such as rice.
This is particularly true in the dry seasons when fruits and vegetables
are in short supply and expensive. Animal products are good sources of
vitamin A, but will be unavailable to people on vegetarian diets.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the bioavailability of sources of vitamin A
is very low in green vegetables. And, the more rural these families are
the less likely their children will be reached regularly and effectively
by Vitamin A fortification and supplementation programs. Still, all these
sources can and do make important contributions.

In her comments Vandana Shiva ignores the fact that Vitamin A-deficiency
disorders result from a deficiency of Vitamin A, not a complete absence of
Vitamin A in the diet. Vitamin A deficient individuals are lacking 10%,
20% or 50% of their daily requirements, not 100%. Hence, any additional
contribution toward daily requirements would be useful. We calculated that
the best Golden Rice lines reported in Science could contribute 15% - 20%
of the daily requirements. It should also be noted that the paper
published in Science reported on the very first set of rice plants
producing beta-carotene in the grain. The inventors have since made
further improvements both in the level of beta-carotene production and
with the elimination of the antibiotic resistance gene. Note also that if
women consume this added source of vitamin A, it will improve their
status, thereby increasing the concentration of vitamin A in the breast
milk, a secondary but important source of vitamin A intake for young
infants. The fact that hundreds of millions of children remain Vitamin A
deficient indicates that more needs to be done, complementary strategies
need to be tried, and that Golden Rice also has the potential to make
important contributions.

I do not know exactly what point Dr. Shiva is trying to make in the
section on transferring the technology to India. Yes, needs assessments
are being conducted so that the trait can be transferred to varieties
grown where the beta-carotene is most needed. She seems to think that
Indians are too dependent on rice. That may or may not be true, but even
so, I do not see why we should not try to make it a more nutritious food.
Where possible, scientists do use conventional breeding to improve the
nutrition of crops, including increased beta-carotene production, but this
was not possible with rice.

Finally, I agree with Dr. Shiva that the public relations uses of Golden
Rice have gone too far. The industry's advertisements and the media in
general seem to forget that it is a research product that needs
considerable further development before it will be available to farmers
and consumers. I hope these comments and the enclosures are useful. -
Gordon Conway


Note from Prakash: Dr. Ingo Potrykus has since then written to Dr. Conway
and said that "The data which The Rockefeller Foundation has, apparently
sent to Greenpeace are not correct and very disturbing. The calculations
are based on daily allowance values which take into account a lot of
"luxury" functions in context with our goal to contribute to vitamin
A-deficiency in developing countries and the statement that people would
have to eat 7 kg of rice per day are, of course, valuable ammunition
against our project"......"I would be grateful, if those who carry most of
the burden are consulted before Greenpeace is further supported, who has
probably little else in mind but blocking any further testing and


Mixed Feelings, But Not Major Concern over Labeling

IFIC’s fifth survey on U.S. consumer attitudes toward food biotechnology
indicates consumers are paying attention to the biotechnology issue—or are

The new survey, conducted January 19-21, 2001 by Wirthlin Worldwide,
includes a few new questions to determine how consumers consider food
biotechnology in context with other food safety issues. Fall 2000 media
coverage focused on the recall of products containing biotech corn not yet
approved for food use and the resulting discussions of regulatory

How did this media coverage of a corn product recall affect consumer
knowledge and attitudes? More consumers correctly identify corn products
as foods currently in the supermarket that have been produced using
biotechnology, although overall awareness of the presence of biotech foods
in grocery stores has actually decreased since May 2000. Only 1 in 4
consumers has heard anything about recalls of foods produced through
biotechnology. When StarLink is named, awareness increases to almost half
of consumers, yet 95% state that they have not taken any action in the
last few months based on concerns regarding biotech foods.

Consumers may have mixed feelings on the labeling issue. When asked,
unaided, to identify what information is currently not on food labels that
they would like to see added, 74% say "nothing” and only 2% mention
"genetically altered". Furthermore, when the current labeling policy is
presented to consumers, 70% remain supportive of the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) policy. The survey also presented consumers with the
critics' desire to label all foods produced through biotechnology even if
the safety and nutritional content are unchanged. When given the critics'
view, more than half of consumers agree with them and just over one-third
maintain the FDA position. This question represents the most significant
shift in the survey, perhaps the result of the Starlink episode. However,
when consumers were presented with information resource alternatives to
the food label in the next question, 75% affirm that information should be
provided through toll-free numbers, brochures, and Web sites "instead of

Consumers continue to respond positively to the benefits of biotechnology
for the foods they eat. More consumers are likely to buy foods enhanced to
taste better or fresher (58% versus 54% last year), to contain less
saturated fat (46% versus 40%, with 33% stating that this benefit would
have no effect on their purchasing decision). And consumer acceptance of
foods enhanced to require fewer pesticides has remained stable at 70%.

For the first time since IFIC began its surveys, the number of Americans
expecting to benefit from biotechnology in the future increased.
Sixty-four percent expect to benefit from biotechnology within the next 5
years. This finding is consistent with a newly released FDA focus group
report that also found consumers “remained open-minded and open to future
experience with foods produced by biotechnology.” While 79% of those in
1997 expected to benefit, the trend declined to a low of 59% in May 2000
but now appears to be turning upward. ### International Food Information
Council (IFIC) is a nonprofit organization that communicates sound
science-based information on food safety and nutrition topics to health
professionals, journalists, government officials and consumers. IFIC’s
programs are supported by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural
industries. IFIC materials can be found online at
http://ific.org. Contact: Nick Alexander or Cheryl Toner (202) 296-6540


From: Susan Barefoot
Subject: USDA Website for Biotechnology Posted
To: escop-agbio@Lists.MsState.Edu


I just received the address for the USDA website from Dr. Dwayne Buxton
<http://www.usda.gov/agencies/biotech/index.html>. No doubt, most of you
are already familiar with it. If not, I encourage you to explore it. It
comprehensively covers USDA's involvement in agricultural biotechnology,
provides numerous links to US and governmental and non-governmental sites
and includes links to international sites from Argentina to the United
Nations. It is quite a good resource for anyone needing biotech


Dr. Susan Barefoot, School Director, Applied Science & Agribusiness,
Assistant Director, CU Cooperative Extension Service & SC Agriculture,
Forestry Research, Clemson University



February 18, 2001 North Carolina State University Steven B. Katz (Via

Frankenfoods or miracle crops to help feed a hungry world? Your feelings
about genetically modified foods depend, in good measure, on how their
benefits and potential risks are explained to you. The words used, and the
way they`re used, color your perceptions. That seems obvious enough, says
Dr. Steven B. Katz, associate professor of English at North Carolina State

So how come so many scientists and policy-makers don't get it? "The
important role that language plays in the public's perception and
reception of scientific data and risk assessment is often neglected by
scientists and program administrators," said Katz, who has reviewed many
case studies, both in the U.S. and abroad, of controversial subjects -
like biotechnology - that have been slowed or completely halted by public
opposition. "In many of these cases, public resistance, at least in part,
has been traced to communication problems - flawed rhetorical choices and
faulty assumptions by scientists about the role of language, emotion and
values in communicating with the media and public," he said.

Katz will present "Language and Persuasion: The Communication of
Biotechnology with the Public," at 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) Sunday, Feb. 18,
at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, in San Francisco. He also will offer some positive
recommendations for facilitating biotechnology communication with the
public. Katz's examination of the role language plays in the biotechnology
debate touches on a number of crucial issues: the effect words may have on
the public; the way experts accommodate information for non-expert
audiences; communication models for risk-assessment communication; and the
importance of public participation in the process.

Syntax, diction and the arrangement of ideas in communication all seem to
play significant roles in determining its effect, Katz has found. "Even
when a paper is 'clearly written,' word choice, style and order of
presentation can have an effect on the public's reception, understanding
and acceptance of communication concerning biotechnology," he said.
Sacrificing accuracy for general comprehension - though necessary - can
also complicate matters if the communication about the benefits and risks
of science, such as biotechnology, is not built on the concerns, knowledge
and values of the audience, Katz said. If scientists have an understanding
of their audience, "the information is transformed in that it becomes a
different message, one adapted to the specific needs of the audience," he

Certain communication models, such as the practice Katz calls "one-way
communication" - in which the educator or expert does all the talking and
the public does all the listening - can be detrimental to the
communication process. No consensus can be achieved when this occurs,
because the public is given little or no voice in the discussion. "This
form of communication will often devalue the listener or audience because
the listener or audience is given no opportunity to provide input, ask
questions or make decisions," Katz said.

"The values and knowledge of the public need to be respected, recognized
and utilized in communication," he said. "There are serious implications
for biotechnology research and industry if they are not."


From: Doug Powell
Subject: More Pusztai

February 20, 2001 National Post A12 Krista Thoma

Arpad Pusztai's 150-second interview on British television two years ago
left the biotechnology industry reeling. The research scientist, now
visting Canada, likened consumers to guinea pigs and said genetically
modified (GM) food on supermarket shelves was not properly tested. A media
frenzy followed. Pusztai's work was widely condemned, and he was fired
from the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland. Last week,
Pusztai, with his wife and colleague, Susan Bardocz, spoke about their
research in Toronto, Guelph and Ottawa. They were hosted by Canada's
anti-biotech triangle of power: Greenpeace, the Council of Canadians and
Ann Clark, a Guelph professor and GM opponent.

"We would like to give an account of our actual research," said Pusztai,
"not all that has been said about it." But details of his experiments are
hidden in a Catch-22. Pusztai won't use the Internet to show his work. "If
something goes on a Web site, it will be difficult to publish [in a
scientific journal]," he said. When asked if he will ever publish his
complete work, he said "that would be a very uphill job," partly because
the Rowett institute's Web site briefly displayed it, "against our
wishes." "It is in the public domain," added Bardocz, "but no one has
access to it." Meanwhile, Pusztai and Bardocz are on a speaking tour,
accusing biotech companies of keeping safety test results under lock and
key. "Where is the transparency?" he asked. "We are feeling very concerned
about GM foods on the market today," said Bardocz. Their concern grew out
of research with GM potatoes that contain a lectin gene. Lectins are
proteins naturally produced in plants that have insecticidal properties.

The effects of feeding these potatoes to rats were being studied, and a
small part of the research was published in the British medical journal
The Lancet. Pusztai is most criticized for blaming the "construct" -- the
extra bits of DNA put into the plant along with the lectin gene -- for
causing cell proliferation in the rat intestine. That is not damage or
disease in itself, but such proliferation is bad in toxicological terms.
The construct includes a "promoter": a switch to make the lectin gene work
and a marker gene for antibiotic resistance. The idea that this construct
DNA could be toxic has been seized upon by anti-GM activists, because most
GM crops now eaten were made with a similar construct. Many of Pusztai's
colleagues found the idea laughable. He admits his experiment lacked an
important control. Potatoes containing only the construct DNA -- minus the
lectin gene -- should have been fed to the rats. He said he planned such a
test, but was fired before he could do it.

Where is the science to clarify Pusztai's findings? The co-author of the
Lancet article, Stanley Ewen, said last week there is no continuing
research on the potatoes in question. "That would have been the logical
way to silence us," said Bardocz. Other studies have emerged that mimic
Pusztai's. A vice-president of Peking University, Zhang-Liang Chen, fed GM
peppers and tomatoes to rats. Researchers at the Japanese Institute of
Health Sciences fed GM soybeans to rats and mice. No adverse effects were
found in either study. Bardocz said two groups in Norway have funding to
repeat Pusztai's experiments with GM corn and GM soya, but have been
delayed. "The problem is getting the parent lines [for the potatoes into
which the lectin gene had been put] from the biotech companies," she said.
"The Norwegian government had to request the material." Karen Dodds,
director general of the Office of Biotechnology and Science at Health
Canada, does not seem worried. On Feb. 4, the Royal Society of Canada
issued a 263-page report after almost a year of work. It provides advice
for making sure new food products being developed through biotechnology
are safe.

The report offers many suggestions to improve Canada's regulatory system,
but importantly, "they were clear they had no concerns about the GM foods
that have been approved to date," said Dodds. Interpretation of the Royal
Society's report will continue as new research comes to light. Pusztai is
doubtless right on one count. "In the end this question should be decided
by scientific methods," he said. "People can come up with other
explanations than ours, but there has to be a debate."


From: Craig Sams
Subject: Iceland Foods

Tony Trewavas is right that Iceland had a problem in selling organic food,
but wrong about the reasons. He is way off the target in describing their
policy as 'organic only.' It was nothing of the sort. Iceland never had
more than a few dozen organic frozen vegetable products and ice cream in
its entire range. This varies markedly from the leading organic
supermarkets in the UK (Waitrose - 1200 organic lines, Sainsbury's - 1050
organic lines, Tesco - 800 organic lines).

A consumer who considers all the evidence tends to go completely organic
and is therefore enticed by the supermarket that offers the widest
variety. What Iceland offered was a chance to save money on frozen peas
and carrots, but no organic fresh produce, grocery items, chocolate or
other organic products that matter to consumers. They had huge success in
1997/1998 with their GM-free policy in that their consumer profile
increased in terms of education and income level, and thought they could
extend this with an organic offering. Their problem was that they did not
go far enough or fast enough and were outflanked by their competitors in
the battle that is going on in the UK to get the most quality-conscious
and least price-sensitive customers that all the supermarkets are courting.

Craig Sams, President, Whole Earth Foods Ltd


From: Tom DeGregori Subject: Mea Culpa

As usual, Drew L. Kershen has a very informative posting for which I and
undoubtedly other readers are grateful. But unfortunately, he
mis-interpreted my posting on Nader for which I am undoubtedly
responsible. My point was that the American Mercury was a scurrilous,
bigoted, xenophobic, lunatic magazine that was carrying-on a number a
number of crusades one of which was the claim the flouridation of water
was a communist plot to turn us into a nation of zombies. The magazine was
so filled with hated and looney ideas that one could go on indefinitely
cataloging the insanity that it promoted. I am at a lost for words to
describe how bad it was as one could quite literally mistake it for a
publication by the Ku Klux Klan, a survivalist group today or any other
hate based organization.

Now for the correction - Nader's article was a xenophobic piece about
foreign trade and foreigners taking American jobs and was not too
different than the line that he took on the demonstrations in Seattle and
in his campaign. My point was that there was simply no excuse for Nader to
publish there. I have published articles in places where I disagreed with
much of the content - we all have - but never in any publication that is
mean and vicious. Nader has to answer for this. Check out the American
Mercury of this period (and not the 1930s when it was edited by H.L.
Mencken and George Jean Nathan) and then read Nader's article. I defy any
Nader supporter on this list to justify his actions.

- Tom DeGregori

P.S. _ I was raised in New Mexico and taught as a TA at the University of
Texas. I remeber well the students from the Panhandle (Deaf Smith county
for example) who had brown teeth and no cavities.


From: Red Porphyry
Subject: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Nader and the American Mercury

Two recent contributors, Mr. Tom DeGregori (in archive msg #990) and Mr.
Drew L Kershen (in archive msg #991) have put forth "evidence" that
suggests that Ralph Nader may in fact actually be a xenophobic, Luddite,
fluoridation-hating Jew-baiter. Such a revelation, if true, would be truly
dynamite and a wonderful rhetorical cudgel that pro-biotech scientists and
biotech advocates could repeatedly use to pound anti-biotechers with.
Unfortunately, when held up to the light of closer scrutiny, this
"evidence" pretty much evaporates like the morning dew.

In March 1960, an article entitled "Business is Deserting America",
written by a 26-year-old named Ralph Nader, appeared in "American Mercury"
magazine. Nader's claim in the article was that the U.S. trade deficit at
the time was the consequence of American corporations moving their
manufacturing operations to foreign countries in order to make higher
profits by taking advantage of very low-wage labor costs in those
countries. The products thus made (which formerly had been manufactured in
the U.S. using American labor) were then exported into the U.S., which
created the trade deficit. In the article, Ralph Nader criticized both the
U.S. corporations for disloyalty to America and the U.S. government for
encouraging the hollowing out of American industry through the transfer of
U.S. manufacturing capacity from the U.S. to foreign countries. In the
article, Nader was essentially arguing from the position of an American
nationalist. While the specific merits of his economic claims can be
debated, the tone of the piece is neither xenophobic nor anti-technology.
Jews are not mentioned, and he says nothing about the Communist Party's
alleged attempt to use the fluoridation of U.S. municipal water supplies
to turn all Americans into zombies.

As for the political views expressed in "American Mercury" magazine, there
is little doubt that they were both extremely xenophobic and anti-Semitic
from the early-1960s onward. This was a consequence of a continual change
of ownership beginning in 1934, when its founder, H.L. Mencken, left. Each
successive owner was incrementally more politically right-wing than the
previous one. At the time Ralph Nader's article appeared, "American
Mercury" had been owned by a wealthy businessman named Russell MacGuire
since 1952. In declining mental health by 1960, MacGuire had begun to
occasionally include, in additional to the usual articles expressing
typical conservative themes of the period (anti-Communist, pro-free
enterprise, pro-religion), articles that were openly anti-Semitic in tone
and content. MacGuire did this over the strenuous and repeated objections
of both his wife and daughter. Consequently, in March 1960, while it's
fair to say that "American Mercury" was beginning a transition from a
politically conservative periodical (one that both Tom DeGregori and Drew
L. Kershen may very well have found intellectually stimulating at the
time, even while disagreeing with it) to one that would eventually become
little more than a sad echo of "Der Stuermer", in March 1960 it was as yet
by no means close to that pathetic endpoint. Given that Nader submitted
his article to "American Mercury" six months to a year earlier, i.e.
sometime in 1959, *before* openly anti-Semitic articles (most notably the
"Termites of the Cross" series) began appearing in the magazine, any
attempt to infer that the appearance of "Business is Deserting America" by
Ralph Nader in the March 1960 issue of "American Mercury" means that Ralph
Nader was, is, and always will be a Jew-hater is *extremely* tenuous, to
say the least. The worst he can be accused of with regard to this incident
is bad timing--being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What Ralph
Nader was, is and always has been is something of an American nationalist.
American nationalists often tend to be suspicious of the effect of large
concentrations of power on American liberty and the American system, e.g.
Theodore Roosevelt (the danger of business trusts), Dwight Eisenhower (the
dangers of the military-industrial complex), Ronald Reagan (the dangers of
labor unions). Doesn't mean Nader hates fluoridated water and foreigners,
though. Or Jews.


From: "NLP Wessex" Subject: GM debate finished?

Thanks to ngin for this very important item from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison which may herald the beginning of the end of the GM

The idea of applying genomics (or 'marker assisted breeding') to
traditional breeding as a way of avoiding the use of genetically modified
organisms (i.e those incorporating recombinant DNA) in agriculture was
raised at the annual meeting of the British Association for the
Advancement of Science in 1998. (For more on this see:
http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/GMdebatesolution.htm )

The fact that the idea has since been raised again at this year's meeting
of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (see press
release below from University of Wisconsin-Madison) indicates that the
idea is now becoming serious currency across the globe. Earlier this month
the application of this technology to traditional plant breeding was
endorsed by the Soil Association, the UK's leading organic certification
body. (See Soil Association policy statement at:
http://www.biotech-info.net/marker_assisted_breeding.html ).

The use of genomics in this way is an inherently more holistic approach to
plant breeding (compared to the use of genetic engineering) because it
does not ignore established genetic relationships within the genome in the
way that recombinant DNA techniques are forced to.

To quote Dr Goodman from the University of Wisconsin: "From a scientific
perspective, the public argument about genetically-modified organisms, I
think, will soon be a thing of the past. The science has moved on and
we're now in the genomics era." A particular significance of Dr Goodman's
remarks is that, as former executive vice president for research and
development at Calgene (the company that developed the famous but failed
genetically engineered Flavr Savr tomato) he is no stranger to recombinant
DNA technology.

Calgene is now owned by Monsanto who are also now exploring genomics as
alternative to 'genetic transformation' techniques (see
http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/GMdebatesolution.htm ).


Genomics portends the next revolution in agriculture

http://www.eurekalert.org/releases/uwm-gpt021201.html 18 FEBRUARY 2001 AT
12:00 ET US Contact: Robert Goodman rgoodman@facstaff.wisc.edu
608-262-9162 University of Wisconsin-Madison

SAN FRANCISCO - Depending on your point of view, the great promise or
peril of modern agriculture has germinated on millions of acres of North
American cropland as the genetically modified organism -- or GMO -- has
taken center stage.

But as science begins to accumulate and explore plant and animal genomes -
the entire set of genetic instructions for a particular organism - a new
revolution is in the offing and, according to University of
Wisconsin-Madison biologist Robert Goodman, promises a long-lasting and
favorable impact on agriculture worldwide.

Addressing scientists here today, Feb. 18, at the annual meeting of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Goodman forecasts a
world of change as scientists use the maps of the genomes of key plants
and animals, giving them unprecedented access to the genetic instructions
that govern life. The new knowledge, he says, could significantly enhance
the traditional and far-less controversial practices of crop and livestock
improvement through breeding.

"From a scientific perspective, the public argument about
genetically-modified organisms, I think, will soon be a thing of the
past," Goodman says. "The science has moved on and we're now in the
genomics era." Instead of slipping one or two genes in or out of an
organism to confer or promote a desirable trait in a plant or animal, as
is the case in GMO technology, the advent of genomics portends an even
more powerful tool as scientists can now rapidly comb the thousands of
genes in a genome to see which genes are at work.

"The key is you can detect function." says Goodman. "You can see genes at
work and you can focus on lots of genes all at once. This is what breeders
have done for more than a century, but with new knowledge and modern tools
of the trade, breeders can make more rapid progress on many more traits
than in the past." The potential of genomics to do good, especially in
developing countries, is enormous, Goodman argues. And he expresses hope
that the polarizing issues and mistakes that have dogged GMO technology
can be avoided.

"Genomics adds centrally and substantially to the toolbox of the plant
breeder," says Goodman, a UW-Madison professor of plant pathology and a
former executive vice president for research and development at Calgene, a
pioneering crop biotechnology company. Critically, the technology can be a
path to world food security and aid in the development of industries and
institutions in countries that will permit them to cope with rapidly
growing populations and dwindling resources, Goodman says.

"Researchers in public institutions in developing countries need this
technology," he argues, "and, more to the point, they themselves can use
it - if arrangements are put in place to make useful genomic sequences and
technologies generally available." Goodman serves as an advisor to the
McKnight Foundation, an organization that promotes scientific advancement
for crop improvement in many of the world's less developed countries.

He cited the fact that the rice genome, now completely mapped, has the
potential to spark significant increases in production and begin to
eliminate some of the human health and environmental problems associated
with industrial agriculture. For example, by building resistance to insect
pests into crops, scientists may help curb cavalier use of chemical
pesticides that now take a huge environmental and human health toll in the
developing world.

The power of genomics, explains Goodman, lies in the fact that nature has
been parsimonious in its use of genes. For example, rice, a member of the
grass family, has a genome with few fundamental genetic differences from
other grasses such as corn, wheat, and tef, a grain on which millions of
people in Africa depend. The genome for Arabidopsis, a common laboratory
workhorse for plant scientists, is now in hand and provides a framework
for using genomics in many crops such as legumes, vegetables and fruits.

The ability now to employ genomic technology to comb these genetic
instructions and focus on new combinations of genes based on their
functions and interactions means that the pace of development of new plant
cultivars, many of them not engineered in the way GMOs are created, may
accelerate dramatically. Goodman says it is essential to get the
technology into the hands of scientists in developing nations because they
will have the best opportunities to tailor the technology to local
agricultural conditions, crops, crop improvement priorities and traditions.

Although an advocate of employing genomic technology, Goodman parts
company with many in industry by advocating labeling of engineered
products and greater public dialogue and education. There is also great
danger, he warns, in a potential concentration of power by having the
technology held by just a few transnational companies.

"The controversy is as much about the economics of the system as it is
about the technology or its safety," he says. "The industrialized model of
agriculture that we depend on won't work very well in the world at large
where nearly half of the population is engaged in food production. We need
new models, but we can't shut the door on a technology that has tremendous
potential to improve the lives of so many."