Science Needs Permission?

"Biotechnology companies are keeping university scientists from fully researching the effectiveness and environmental impact of the industry’s genetically modified crops, according to an unusual complaint issued by a group of those scientists," reports Andrew Pollack. Because GM crops are considered "intellectual property" of the companies that sell them, researchers need permission from the company to plant them, even for research purposes. In their complaint, the scientists say that sometimes companies deny that permission is withheld or insist on reviewing any findings before they can be published. "If a company can control the research that appears in the public domain, they can reduce the potential negatives that can come out of any research," said Ken Ostlie, one of the scientists who signed the statement. The scientists warn that "No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions."