The discovery of genetically-modified wheat in an Eastern Oregon field has touched off a debate on the economics and safety of altering crop genetics.

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The discovery of genetically-modified wheat in an Eastern Oregon field has touched off a debate on the economics and safety of altering crop genetics.

Critics of genetic modification point to a study that estimates the wheat industry stands to lose $94 to $272 million annually if genetically-modified wheat is introduced.

The USDA announced the discovery of the Monsanto-owned strain on Wednesday. It led to Japan postponing a 25,000-ton order from a Portland grain shipper.

The Oregonian reports ( http://bit.ly/Zl1bKV) unapproved genetically-modified rice found in a 2006 U.S. harvest led to plunging rice prices and payments from the offending company to American farmers.

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Center for Food Safety attorney George Kimbrell says Monsanto may be liable for damages if Oregon wheat growers or shippers lose sales.

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