Agricultural Biotech
Cancer / Genetics
Safe Pregnancy
Critical Habitat
Assessing Risk

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Biotechnology Project

Program Mission

The Biotechnology Project's mission is to educate the public about the underlying ethical issues and possible public health and ecological consequences of the wholesale substitution of genetically modified food crops for more traditional crop varieties.


Much of this work is derived from CETOS's early efforts in 1997-98 (see Against the Grain, Common Courage Press, 1998 -- in its third printing as of early 2004), which identified the most pressing issues related to the introduction of genetically modified food crops as being loss of genetic diversity of food crops, non-engagement of the public in dialog, labeling, and absence of adequate safety testing, monitoring and tracking of potentially harmful crops or their byproducts.

Project Focus

The focus of the current project is the expansion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into previously underutilized agricultural lands (e.g., Brazil's Amazon Basin) and developing countries more generally (e.g., India); the risks attendant on spread of genetically modified germ plasm to non-engineered varieties (e.g., the spread of GM corn into Mexico); and the ecological disruption that comes with over-reliance on single herbicides or biological controls.

Our ongoing work on biotechnology links the Genetic Integrity Project's efforts to ensure genome stability and the Critical Habitat Project's concern about loss of genetic diversity with the expansion of pesticide use required by herbicide tolerant genetically modified crops.

Today Show

Marc Lappé spoke about biotechnology on the TODAY SHOW (NBC) on October 27, 2003.

Mendocino County

On March 2, 2004, Mendocino County in California - where CETOS is located - became the first county in the nation to ban the growing of genetically altered crops and animals. [press release]

Genetically Altered Soybean Research and Article

CETOS has conducted research on genetically engineered and conventional soybeans, testing the levels of phytoestrogens present (particularly the isoflavones thought responsible for protective benefits). Our Study titled, "Alterations in Clinically Important Phytoestrogens in Genetically Modified, Herbicide-Tolerant Soybeans" has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Food  (Copyright © Maryanne Liebert Publishers, Vol. 1, no.4, 1 July, 1999.)

Biotechnology Articles & Reports