Genetically modified controversy

Among activists, one of the most vehemently opposed technologies is genetically modified (GM) crops. One purported risk is that genes will "stray" from the genetically modified crop into wild plants, creating, for example, weeds that are resistant to herbicides.

Such gene movement was supposedly found by researchers who published their findings in the journal Nature. The scientists said they found evidence that genes from genetically modified corn had somehow found their way into native corn growing in Mexico.

However, numerous other scientists have expressed concerns about the study, saying it was conducted poorly and the results were suspect. An editorial in the journal Transgenic Research even said that the results were likely a "testimony to technical failure."

Anti-GM forces have issued a "Joint Statement" condemning the attacks on the research. Critics of the research have issued a "Joint Statement" of their own in response.

This shows just how complex the issues surrounding genetic modification can be. A similar controversy exists over genetically modified creeping bentgrass, which some critics say is not well-enough understood to ensure that it does not pose a risk of spreading its herbicide-resistant properties to other bentgrass varieties. Scotts is planning to release its GM bentgrass in a year or two and asserts that its safeguards are adequate.

A more complete description of the GM corn controversy by Howard Fienberg can be found at

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