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The Chinese government has long maintained that transgenic crops are key to feeding and clothing the country's huge population in the 21st century. But it now appears to be proceeding with growing caution.

In this article, Ding Yimin and Jeffrey Mervis report that the government's recent refusal to approve commercial distribution of a GM rice variety, and a crackdown on foreign investment in the field, appear to contradict the government's growing investment in domestic research in agricultural biotechnology.

Chinese officials point to growing concern about biosafety as the reason. But many observers suspect that this is just a smokescreen for a tougher trade policy.

Link to full Science news feature

Reference: Science 298, 2317 (2002)

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