News FocusProfile: Carol Mallory-Smith

Scientist in the Middle of the GM-Organic Wars

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6026, pp. 168
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6026.168

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

For Carol Mallory-Smith of Oregon State University, the migration of genes in agricultural crops is not just a research topic or a matter of policy debate. It's the cause of a vexing quarrel among her neighbors: the farmers of Oregon's Willamette Valley. This valley, because of its mild climate and ample water for irrigation, is one of the world's great seed-growing centers, supplying farms, gardens, and golf courses worldwide. Because pollination is at the heart of seed production, the valley is now the scene of heated debates—and one far-reaching lawsuit—over the consequences of genetically modified pollen or seeds drifting into fields filled with sexually compatible non-GM crops. Organic farmers who fear contamination of their crops are on one side; the growers of seed for genetically engineered sugar beets are on the other. And Mallory-Smith is in the middle. Her publications have found an avid readership among biotech industry lawyers and activists opposed to GM crops.

  • * Dan Charles is a writer based in Washington, D.C.