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Seeds of Doubt

(Friday, June 11, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- Sacramento Bee special series on agricultural biotechnology:
From the editor

Much has been written about biotechnology's hope - to feed the hungry, to limit pesticides - and much has been written about its hazards.

The Bee spent eight months investigating this new green revolution.

What we found was propaganda where there should be probing; superficial talk where there should be deeper truths.

We hope you will find some of those truths over the next five days, when we take you from the deserts of Africa to the labs and fields of California, the Midwest and Mexico.

Rick Rodriguez, Executive Editor

Part one:
Mali's people reap no reward from cloned wild-rice gene
By Tom Knudson -- Bee Staff Writer
Published Sunday, June 6, 2004 -- First of five parts

EREDJI MOLLA, MALI -- Overhead, the sun hangs like a heat lamp, searing an African landscape the color of toast. Patches of sandy soil that yielded green shoots of millet and wild rice last fall now swirl with dust... http://www.sacbee.com/static/live/news/projects/biotech/c1_1.html

Part Two: Globe-trotting genes
Welcome or not, modified strains pop up in crops near and far
By Tom Knudson, Edie Lau and Mike Lee -- Bee Staff Writers
Published Monday, June 7, 2004 -- Second of five parts

CAPULÁLPAM, MEXICO - Working the rutted rows of their hillside garden in 1997, Alberto Cortes and his wife, Olga Toro Maldonado, noticed something unusual.

The maize was like steel. It shot up strong and thick. Bugs didn't hurt it. Drought didn't wilt it. Growing alongside scrawny stalks of traditional Mexican maize, the new variety was a bulked-up, botanical stranger - maize on steroids... http://www.sacbee.com/static/live/news/projects/biotech/c2_1.html

Part Three: Biotech industry funds bumper crop of UC Davis research
By Tom Knudson and Mike Lee -- Bee Staff Writers
Published Tuesday, June 8, 2004 -- Third of five parts

Last August, a promising new report about genetically modified corn flickered across a Web site sponsored by the corn's corporate creator, the biotechnology giant Monsanto Co.... http://www.sacbee.com/static/live/news/projects/biotech/c3_1.html

Part Four: Scattered efforts
California plays little part in the patchwork that oversees biotech crops
By Mike Lee and Edie Lau -- Bee Staff Writers
Published Wednesday, June 9, 2004 -- Fourth of five parts

Dig deep into state files to see just how closely genetically modified agriculture is regulated in California and you'll find an unsettling memo, part of a federal sign-off that is supposed to occur a week before some experimental crops are planted.

The memo is dated April 24, 2001 - five days after insect-resistant corn was planted on about 8 acres near Woodland.

“The weather was right, so we put it in the ground,” seed giant Pioneer Hi-Bred informed government regulators.

No federal fine followed. No state alarm sounded... http://www.sacbee.com/static/live/news/projects/biotech/c4_1.html

Part Five: Grocery quandary
For U.S.shoppers, a lack of labels limits choice on biotech products
By Edie Lau -- Bee Staff Writer
Published Thursday, June 10, 2004 -- Last of five parts<.p>

Grocery shopping was going smoothly until Lori Brennan stopped for soy milk.

Studying the shelves at a natural foods market in Grass Valley this spring, Brennan found her options mind-boggling. Some of the drinks carried the organic seal, some did not. All but one new variety were sweetened. A brand on sale caught Brennan's interest, but it bothered her that the package said nothing about whether the soy was genetically modified... http://www.sacbee.com/static/live/news/projects/biotech/c5_1.html

Main page for all of the series: http://www.sacbee.com/static/live/news/projects/biotech/