A geneticist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture pleaded guilty on [Oct. 24] to making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation when questioned about plans to send U.S. rice samples to China….
Wengui Yan, 61, of Arkansas admitted that a group of Chinese tourists in 2013 told him of their plans to steal engineered U.S. rice samples, but he first told investigators he had no knowledge of the plan.
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Agricultural espionage, like the case involving Yan, allows thieves to reproduce genetically modified plants in China, skipping years of research and millions of dollars typically invested in development of the highly resistant seeds.
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Yan refused to give the group of Chinese visitors rice seeds they requested because they were protected, but he did travel with them to a rice farm where he “knew they would have an opportunity to steal seeds,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
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