Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Further Testing Urged for New `Genetic' Crops

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Further Testing Urged for New `Genetic' Crops

Article excerpt

The government should halt approval of crops derived from genetic engineering until it has more proof that the plants won't hurt the environment, says the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The group contended Sunday that some hardier transgenic crops, as they are called, could create "weeds" - plants like the notorious kudzu that seem to grow uncontrollably and are hard to wipe out.

The group issued the warning because several crops may soon find their way into commercial use. They include a tomato that can stay ripe longer, a squash that can resist viruses and a cotton that tolerates certain herbicides.

"When you start talking about commercialization, you're talking about the uncontrolled and unmonitored use of the plants on huge numbers of acres," said Margaret Mellon, a lawyer and scientist who helped produce the report.

The report noted that the possibility of a new kudzu, crabgrass or other weed coming out of genetic engineering is rare but worth guarding against.

The Department of Agriculture monitors 1,500 field tests of genetically engineered crops. …

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