A report on genetically engineered plants predicts that they will begin reaching the marketplace within five years, but when they do, high research and testing costs will allow only the largest companies to compete in the field. Gerald Campbell, a St. Louis biochemist and one of the authors of the report, says the big companies likely to benefit from the technology are Calgene, Du Pont, and Monsanto. Under a contract with Campbell Soup, Calgene is now engaged in field trials of a genetically engineered tomato. Through nonexpression of a gene, Calgene researchers have altered the enzyme that causes the softening of ripe tomatoes, thus allowing the plant to spend more time on the vine before harvest. Other promising avenues of research include plants that manufacture their own pesticides and herbicides. Campbell, who wrote the report for Frost & Sullivan Inc., a New York-based market research firm, could not say how...

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