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C.The Potential Risk of Plant Biotechnology

Narrator: This is Science Today. One of the most controversial aspects of genetically modified crops is the natural transfer of genetic material from one plant population to another and the potential consequences. Norman Ellstrand, a professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside, reviewed the world's twenty-five most important crops and found all but three naturally hybridize with their wild plant relatives.

Ellstrand: And it doesn't really matter whether the gene that's created by traditional breeding or genetic engineering, the risk is essentially the same. It's just that perhaps some of the genes associated with genetic engineering will be especially the kind of genes we wouldn't want to get into wild populations.

Narrator: Ellstrand says his research is in no way against biotechnology - instead, its emphasis is to raise awareness.

Ellstrand: It's very important that we're aware of the fact that pollen can blow, contamination can occur and it's very easy to lose track of the transgenes unless people have their material checked.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.