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Wenner-Gren Funded Research in the News

May 7, 2007

Dr. Glenn Stone is a professor of sociocultural anthropology and environmental studies at Washington University, St. Louis. His research focuses on environmental anthropology and political ecology: studying the social and political aspects of agricultural systems, population increase, and agricultural biotechnology

His recent work has focused on questions of genetically modified agricultural crops in different sites. The arrival of crop genetic modification (GM) into the developing world in recent years has brought fierce controversy, especially on the question of how GM crops would affect local farmers. As a long-term student of the complexities of indigenous agricultural systems [including two Wenner-Gren funded projects on social aspects of indigenous agriculture in Africa], Glenn Stone noted with alarm how certain both the biotech corporations and the green activists were about the new technology's effects -- and oversimplified both positions were. He identified a particularly interesting situation in India, where genetically modified insecticidal "Bt cotton" was being considered for release, and with Wenner-Gren funding in 2000 he began a multi year study of cotton farmers in Andhra Pradesh, in the key cotton-growing area of Warangal. In 2002 the new cotton was approved for sale, and 3 years later when it took over most farmers' fields, biotech corporations announced that it had been v