Eating a bio-engineered tomato

By , Betty Lennox, Mary Sheesgreen and Susan Linden

Regarding "New genes meet a wary market" (Dec. 8): It is hard to understand why, as the Monitor puts it, "the world - and now America - [is] balking at altered crops."

We should no more fear the advent of biotechnology than we should have feared the introduction of pasteurization, refrigeration, or microwave ovens in food storage and preparation. Genetic engineering will open the door to a whole new generation of technologies capable of providing vast quantities of safer and more affordable food to a growing and hungry world.

For example: A gene from the arctic flounder has been transferred to tomatoes. The gene instructs the cells to produce a certain protein to ease their susceptibility to cold.

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If you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to have a bacon, lettuce, and bio-engineered tomato sandwich now.

Daniel John Sobieski Chicago, Ill.

Different takes on protesters, WTO

I was disappointed, then outraged, at the Monitor's coverage of the WTO meeting in Seattle. The one-sided reporting simply glossed over the critical issues being addressed by the protesters. The articles failed to give us the opinions of any of the intelligent, informed people that supported the protest. The very magnitude of this demonstration, which, you acknowledge was "one of the most spirited civilian protest in the US since the 1960s," should certainly have merited more in-depth coverage. The Monitor's reputation for fair and insightful reporting slipped on this one.

Betty Lennox Sebastopol, Calif.

Your front-page article "Amid tear gas, all globalization's foes emerge" (Dec. 3) gives a distorted version of the anti-WTO protests in Seattle. "Globalization" is not the target, nor is "free trade." The problem is how globalization is taking place, the rules of the game, as they are established and applied by the WTO, and other international financial institutions. So far, the deck has been stacked in favor of the multinational corporations and against ordinary citizens.

While the WTO itself was instituted as recently as 1995, its model of free trade has been advanced for the past 20 years. Its defenders claim this model can take the credit for the economic prosperity of the past two years in the US. If that is the case, then the model must also take responsibility for the downside of our economy.

Mary Shesgreen Elgin, Ill.

Serious romance

Regarding your "Annual 1999 bookwatcher's guide" (Nov. 18): I read with concern the comment in your review of "Lamb in Love," by Carrie Brown, that "Brown demonstrates rare courage for a serious novelist: a willingness to let things work out well."

I am an aspiring novelist in the genre of historical romance. I write "happy endings," as do all other romance novelists and many writers of mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and mainstream novels. I also consider myself a "serious" novelist. Each day I spend hours planning my plots, agonizing over the right words to bring my story to life, and putting my nose to the grindstone on revisions. I spend days - weeks - in the library, researching details for my books. A "serious" novelist, whether writing a Harlequin romance or a cozy mystery or a literary novel, is a person who commits himself or herself to doing the work of writing.

The way a book ends does not determine whether or not the author is serious. As a member of Romance Writers of America, I can assure you that each of the 8,200 members takes writing, and "happily ever after," very seriously.

Susan Linden Ash Fork, Ariz.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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