When you fill out a customs declaration form for entering New Zealand, you are asked if you are carrying any of a long list of animal and plant products. Are you carrying camping gear and boots, riding equipment, and clothing that may have been in contact with farm animals? Have you been on a farm or in a forest in the last 30 days?

In a world increasingly worried about alien species and imported livestock diseases, perhaps no other country has been as traditionally concerned about introducing unwanted species than New Zealand. So it may not be surprising that perhaps nowhere has public participation in the debates about the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) been more focused recently. In April 2000, the New Zealand government appointed a Royal Commission on Genetic Modification to investigate and advise on the nation's policy about genetics science and technology.

During subsequent months of...

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