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 - Color by St. Petersburg SCOTT AND Some big...
Color by St. Petersburg SCOTT AND Some big firms banking on a new direction in agriculture By ANN CRITTENDEN New York Times You don't have to lick your fingers fingers to tell which way the wind is blowing. Like a spring tornado, this season's enthusiasm over genetic engineering is sweeping over agriculture, agriculture, one of America's biggest businesses businesses and the nation's chief exporter. exporter. The signs of a new industry in the making are everywhere. The names are sometimes established and the numbers huge Du Pont, Monsanto, Monsanto, Pfizer, Atlantic Richfield, Stauffer Chemical, Upjohn, Occidental Occidental Petroleum, and . Ciba-Geigy, Ciba-Geigy, Ciba-Geigy, among others, are spending tens of milions of dollars to explore the agri-cultural agri-cultural agri-cultural applications of bio-engineering. bio-engineering. bio-engineering. At the end of the corporate spectrum a swarm of brand new companies companies have spawned, with exotic names like Calgene and Plant Genetics. Genetics. The big three among these pioneers pioneers are Advanced Genetics Science Ltd., of Bermuda and Greenwich, Conn., partly owned by Rohm & Haas; the Agrigenetics Corp., which is building a new laboratory for basic plant research in Madison, Wis., and the International Plant Research Institute Institute in San Carlos, Calif., which with the help of funds from Atlantic Richfield is exploring everything from plants that can grow in salt water water to putting animal genes into plants in order to produce meat-like meat-like meat-like proteins. "IT ALL REMINDS me of the excitement over Laetrile everyone wants to believe in it," said one skeptic, skeptic, Holly Shauer, head of the Depart ment of Agriculture's competitive grants program, established in 1977 specifically to finance basic research in agriculture. As the enthusiasts tell it, however, however, there will one day be perennial corn; crops that can fix their own nitrogen, nitrogen, thereby dispensing with expensive expensive artificial fertilizer; potatoes and tomatoes on the same vine, and plants that tolerate the high levels of salt in heavily irrigated soil. And behind behind each vision, lurks a multibillion-'dollar multibillion-'dollar multibillion-'dollar market, waiting for the science. science. "We think food will be in the 1990s what energy has been the the 1970s and 1980s," said A. Robert Abboud, Occidental's president, pointing out that the company's studies indicate a significant food shortage in the 1990s. (Occidental, in addition to purchasing Iowa Beef Processors earlier this month, has bought Zoecon, a research group working on biological pest controls See GENETIC. 8-A 8-A 8-A

Clipped from
  1. Tampa Bay Times,
  2. 25 Jul 1981, Sat,
  3. Other Editions,
  4. Page 1

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