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Date: Fri, 3 Jan 1997 11:38:39 -0500
Reply-to: Agriculture Network <AGNET-L@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA>
From: Douglas A Powell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Agnet Jan.3/97
To: Multiple recipients of list AGNET-L <AGNET-L@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA>
AGNET IS SPONSORED BY THE ONTARIO MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND RURAL
AFFAIRS PLANTS PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH
AUSTRIA BANS GENE-MODIFIED FOODS
Another story about the ban on genetically modified maize imposed by the
Austrian government despite a previous decision by the European Commission
(EC) in Brussels to allow the grain to be sold within the European Union
(EU). Nothing new.
EUROPE LETS IN AMERICAN SUPERMAIZE
4 Jan 97
Another story about genetically-engineered Bt-containing corn, this time
focusing on the EU approval and Tony Atkinson, the scientist who persuaded
Britain to oppose the crop, who is still highly critical of the move.
Atkinson, of the drugs company Duramed, still fears that the
beta-lactamase gene will jump from corn to bacteria in an animal's
intestine. "No one has yet looked at the effect of feeding a gene to lots
of animals day in and day out for years," he says.
Ciba argues that up to 10 per cent of human gut bacteria already contain
the beta-lactamase gene, and that there are other antibiotics which are
not destroyed by the enzyme. But Atkinson notes that the gene in the new
maize is coupled with a stretch of DNA which causes cells to make 600
copies of the gene.
DESTRUCTION ORDER FOR TRANSGENIC CROP AFTER BREACH OF REGS
Scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) have been
told to destroy a transgenic vegetable crop -- Bt-containing brinjal
(eggplant or aubergine) -- after the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
alleged that the experiment was being carried out without its knowledge
and in violation of safety guidelines. According to this story, this is
the first time the department has taken action under the Environmental
Protection Act of 1986, which prohibits unauthorized field trials of
genetically manipulated organisms.
DBT says the field trial was carried out without a permit. Such permits
are issued by the department on the recommendation of a national panel
that reviews research proposals for environmental and human safety. Only
two permits have so far been issued for transgenic trials and IARI has not
GERMAN RESISTANCE TO GENETIC ENGINEERING
A story about the increasing acceptance of genetic engineering in Germany
which notes however that resistance to ag biotech remains quite strong.
The story notes that last year it was revealed that almost all field
trials of genetically-manipulated crops in Germany had been either totally
or partially destroyed by protesters. And Germans remain opposed to
genetically modified foods.
The story says that Germany did has an exercise in 'participatory risk
assessment' on the genetic engineering of plants carried out from 1991 to
1993 and involving 50 individuals from environmental groups, industry,
regulatory authorities and the scientific community. The meetings were
organized by Wolfgang van den Daele, a sociologist at Berlin's Science
Centre for Social Research. But groups critical of genetic engineering
withdrew before the last meeting because they were unhappy with the
direction of the discussions, which meant that no consensus conclusions
could be agreed.
The story says that the failure of the consensus approach has put strain
on attempts to bring public participation into risk-related
CAN DNA IN FOOD FIND ITS WAY INTO CELLS?
4 Jan 97
A news story reporting a paper presented by Walter Dorfler of the
University of Cologne at the International Congress on Cell Biology in San
Francisco last month who claimed that DNA fed to a mouse can survive
digestion and invade cells throughout its body. Because food contains DNA,
this may be a way for species to acquire genes, the research team argues.
Dorfler and colleagues found that when they fed a bacterial virus called
M13 to a mouse, sections of its genetic material about 700 DNA base pairs
longQlarge enough to contain a geneQsurvived to emerge in faeces.
The story also quotes Rudolf Jaenisch, a geneticist at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, who says "It's amazing that this DNA could get
all the way into the blood," and that the German team's results are "very
NEW FINNISH STUDY CONFIRMS MEN PRODUCING LESS SPERM
LONDON -- A new Finnish study published in the British Medical Journal
says that middle-aged and older men have become significantly less fertile
over the last 50 years and their declining sperm production cannot be
explained by drugs, smoking or drinking alcohol. The story says the
researchers said the fall in sperm quality and a rise in disorders like
testicular cancer could have the same cause, which other scientists have
speculated could range from climate change to environmental toxins like
pesticides and poor diet.
The studyQbased on two sets of tests in 1981 and 1991 on the corpses of
Finnish men aged between 35 and 69 -- showed the problem was to an
increasing number of problems with male reproductive organs.
ECOGEN<EECN.O>GETS MARKET OK FOR LEPINOX PESTICIDE
LANGHORNE, Pa. -- Ecogen Inc. has received approval from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency to market Lepinox bioinsecticide, for
control of fall armyworm. Ecogen said it would initially target
application of Lepinox on sweetcorn, a $15 million market in Florida.
ORGANIC MOVEMENT SEEKS SLICE OF THE ACTION
A story about the 10th National Conference of Organic Food Production in
Cirencester, U.K. which states that organic food may soon make up a
significant slice of the food market.
The upsurge in interest is being driven by:
:: The BSE crisis and other concerns about food quality and it's health
repercussions have made organic food more popular than ever, according to
:: Sainsbury's, who co-sponsor the event together with the National
Westminster Bank, have invited nine conventional producers to attend as
:: The supermarket giant hopes to convert some or all of the producers to
organic production methods.
:: Many green-minded shoppers worry about the environmental impact of
intensive farming and opt for organic instead, and several others.
Dr. E. Ann Clark
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
FAX: 519 763-8933