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2-Plants: Boulder County (USA) allows GE corn trials

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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Modified corn gets green light
SOURCE: Rocky Mountain News, USA, by Berny Morson
DATE:   Feb 12, 2003

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Modified corn gets green light

BOULDER - Farmers will be allowed to grow genetically modified corn on
county open space, the Boulder County commissioners decided Tuesday.

But bowing to public concerns, the commissioners agreed that neighboring
growers of conventional crops can demand a 150-foot buffer zone around
the genetically modified varieties.

"I don't want us, with Boulder County open space land, to be on the
biotech cutting edge," said Commissioner Ron Stewart.

"There is an apprehension in the general populace about" genetically
modified crops, he said.

The county owns 70,000 acres of open space, of which 25,000 acres are
leased for agriculture.

In 2002, nine growers planted genetically modified corn on 560 acres.
Almost all of it was livestock feed.

The rules adopted Tuesday were recommended by a task force, which began
studying the issue in 2001.

Annette Brant, a member of the task force, told the commissioners she
still prefers a ban on genetically modified crops. She fears the
genetically altered corn will pollinate corn on neighboring land,
creating hybrids that farmers don't want.

But task force member and University of Colorado biology professor Andrew
Staehelin told the commissioners that modified corn is resistant to
diseases that can also affect humans, such as carcinogenic funguses.

Staehelin said cross-pollinization won't hurt neighboring farmers.

"The world is not going to disintegrate because we're releasing these
organisms," he said.