Is Big Biotech waging an international campaign to discredit researchers who study the dangers of genetically modified organisms?
Tyrone Hayes is one among many scientists now inquiring into the long-term impacts of chemicals and biotechnological products being produced, mostly, by huge multinational conglomerates and released, increasingly, throughout the world environment. Proponents of these chemicals and products say they are vital if the world's poorest and most populous countries are to be fed. Because most biotech products have been created only recently, however, their comprehensive effects on world ecology are, in many cases, unknown. And as biotech companies continue to forge partnerships with universities, augmenting their dwindling research budgets, scientists at some of the world's most prestigious institutions complain that large multinational biotech companies have attempted to suppress studies that suggest highly profitable products may have adverse effects on health or the environment. CIR Associate Reporter and former intern Alison Pierce investigates, in this cover story for SF Weekly.