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C. A Call for Mandatory Testing of Grain for Genetically Modified Organisms

Narrator: This is Science Today. A panel of scientists advising the Environmental Protection Agency say that genetically altered StarLink corn has not been proven safe for food and are urging mandatory testing of grain. Norman Ellstrand, a professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside, says it's easy to lose track of the transgenes unless people have their material checked.

Ellstrand: There are markers available for these genes and the markers are available so people are beginning to screen their crops. Farmers who want their seed to be pure, can isolate their crop so that they are far enough away or grown at a different time or surrounded by barrier rows that would cut down on the contamination.

Narrator: And yet, Ellstrand says this raises an interesting social issue.

Ellstrand: Should it be on the shoulders of farmers who want to keep their crops pure? Or should it be the responsibility of the farmers who grow millions of millions of acres of transgenic crops, to make sure that their transgenic crops do not contaminate the crops of those - who want to keep them pure.

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