WASHINGTON - Events over the past few months have revealed a profound split between the mostly white, well-fed anti-biotech activists from the U.S. and Europe and representatives of Third World nations. While the two groups might agree on their opposition to patenting of seeds, there is no reason to assume that they share a common agenda when it comes to the importance of biotechnology in feeding the developing nations.

The split became apparent at last December's World Trade Organization meeting, when Seattle's downtown was transformed for two days into a bizarre carnival by U.S. labor unions demanding that rich countries block exports from countries where children are allowed to work, and by busloads of anti-biotech activists asserting that new technologies are part of a conspiracy by multinational companies to poison the world's poor and destroy the environment.