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When Genes Escape

Does it matter to crops and weeds?

By
9:46am, October 7, 2003

This may not sound like boffo material, but genetic–engineering-policy specialist Michael Rodemeyer knows his crowd. "As I was coming out here, I thought about making bumper stickers that say, 'Gene flow happens.'" The line gets a good laugh; after all, Rodemeyer, a director of the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology in Washington, D.C., is addressing a roomful of botanists. They routinely think about genes moving from plant to plant, and they get his reference to worries that engineered genes will jump from a crop to a wild cousin and create a real Godzilla of a weed.

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