Biotech Industry Funnels Cash to Universities and Politicians

The biotechnology industry is steering millions of dollars into both U.S. agricultural universities and political campaigns — and it’s getting plenty of return on its investment. At the University of California at Davis, for example, biotech companies contribute money for new buildings, laboratory studies, salaries for post-doctoral students, scholarships, and consulting fees for professors. In exchange, they get dibs on new discoveries, research that supports their goals, business advice from professors, and a crop of academic scientists who are wedded to the biotech mindset. In the political arena, biotech companies made more than $7.7 million in campaign donations during the 2002 election cycle, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. In an extensive five-day series on biotechnology, the Sacramento Bee follows the money trail, and also examines the unintentional spread of genetically engineered seeds, lapses in biotech regulation, the challenges for Americans who want to avoid buying GE food, and more.