Calgene Inc.'s application to field-test genetically engineeredcotton in 12 states came under fire this week from the NationalWildlife Federation (NWF), which said a U.S. agency'sevaluation of prior tests was insufficient.

The NWF petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)to conduct a thorough risk analysis of the experiment'spotential effects on human health and aquatic ecology.Meanwhile, the NWF said Calgene of Davis, Calif., should not beallowed to proceed to broader testing.

Calgene applied to the USDA last October for a 25-site test ofcotton that has been engineered to resist bromoxynil, aherbicide that kills cotton and weeds. A small study last yearshowed that the modified cotton plants could break downbromoxynil. Calgene said the cotton would sharply cutherbicide use

NWF cited studies linking bromoxynil use to birth defects anddamage to aquatic life. Calgene termed those concerns "justplain spurious." -- Carol Ezzell

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