--Dan Worley in Sunny Puerto Rico--
>Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 21:06:14 -0500
>From: Richard Wolfson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Misc GENews
>Gene maize shipment returns to Netherlands
>AMSTERDAM, March 12
>( forward from <email@example.com: GE - GMO News 03/12 ) (Reuters) A
>barge carrying genetically modified U.S. maize has returned to the
>Netherlands after being rejected by Swiss authorities, Dutch officials said
>on Thursday. A spokeswoman for the Environment Ministry said the Maria
>Elsiena had docked in Zwijndrecht near Rotterdam and the customs department
>would decide the fate of the cargo.
>( forward from <firstname.lastname@example.org: GE - GMO News 03/15 )
>March 15, 1998 ASIA: INDIA GIRDS TO DEFEND ITS BIODIVERSITY By Narayanan
>BODY: NEW DELHI, Reuters - Many Indians were outraged last year when they
>heard that a US firm had sought a patent for a familiar home remedy - the
>healing properties of turmeric. A similar furore has erupted over news
>that another US firm, RiceTec Inc, had named new lines of rice it patented
>"Basmati", the long-grained, aromatic variety widely recognised as unique
>to India and Pakistan.
>Indian officials, who won the turmeric patent dispute and are now waging a
>legal war over basmati rice, recognise the need for a long-term strategy to
>preserve the nation's vast genetic wealth and traditional knowledge.
>The government is developing a biodiversity law expected to help India
>ward off patenting predators and claim a slice of a biological business
>that some estimate is worth $ US200 billion ($ A301 billion) a year.
> New Scientist March 14, 1998 Pg. 7
>: Suffer the children BYLINE: Nell Boyce (Washington DC)
>HIGHLIGHT: The great taboo of gene therapy may have been broken
>TAMPERING with genes in human sperm and eggs is outlawed, since any
>unforeseen side effects would be passed on to future generations. But US
>health officials are worried that human reproductive cells may have
>accidentally been contaminated during gene therapy trials.
>Therapeutic genes are usually shuttled into the body inside "vectors" such
>as viruses or loops of bacterial DNA called plasmids. But researchers have
>no way of restricting these vectors to tissues that need gene therapy. So
>patients have always been warned that germ line contamination is a
>potential danger and been advised to use barrier methods of contraception.
>Most of those treated so far have been terminally ill, and were not very
>likely to consider having children. But as researchers develop gene
>therapies for less serious conditions (This Week, 25 October 1997, p 20),
>the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of
>Health (NIH) have become alarmed at reports of vector DNA sequences showing
>up in the gonads of experimental animals - and, in one case, a human
>Agri-Industry Europe March 13, 1998 No. 17 TRANSGENIC CROPS: GMO CROP
>SURFACE TO DOUBLE IN 1998 HIGHLIGHT: The amount of land sown under
>transgenic crops throughout the world is expected to more than double
>between 1997 and 1998, from 14.2 million hectares to 35 million, French
>seed suppliers estimate. In 1998, 88% of the area on which transgenic crops
>are grown will be in the United States, 6% in Latin America and 6% in Asia,
>according to these seed companies.
>BODY: Only "a few thousand hectares of transgenic maize" will be grown
>in France in 1998, in the wake of Government approval for the genetically
>-modified maize marketed by Novartis of Switzerland, according to the
>Interprofessionel des Semences (GNIS) and the Union des Industries de
>Protection des Plantes (UIPP). By the year 2000, transgenic crops are
>expected to cover 60 million hectares throughout the world, of which 81%
>will be found in North America, 8% in Latin America, 10% in Asia and 1% in
>In 1998, soyabeans will be the main transgenic crop with 17 million
>hectares (15 million in the United States and two million in Argentina).
>Genetically -modified maize will cover more than eight million hectares,
>mainly in the United States.
>Transgenic cotton will be planted on about 2.3 million hectares,
>essentially in the United States, with a bit in Australia, while transgenic
>rapeseed will be popular in Canada (two million hectares in 1998) and to a
>lesser extent in the United States.
>In the area of research, seed producers hope that "France and Europe will
>go into overdrive against the United States", as they have fallen behind.
>The European Commission has established a forum to promote funding for
>research in this area. In France, which ranks third in the world in
>varietal selection, "laboratories are on the cutting edge in plant biology,
>but the industrial fabric in biotechnology remains inadequate", according
>to GNIS officials.
>March 13, 1998 No. 17
>GENETIC ENGINEERING: SCIENTISTS AND DOCTORS CALL FOR MORATORIUM
>Genetically -modified organisms ( GMOs) have appeared rather suddenly on
>the medical and agricultural scene, leaving no time for scientists to
>assess their real benefits and their possible negative impact on health and
>the environment. These observations have led a group of European
>scientists, doctors and health professionals to appeal on March 6 for a
>moratorium on the marketing of GMOs, their dissemination into the
>environment and their presence in food. They cite the "precautionary
>principle" adopted by more than 100 Heads of State and Government at the
>Rio Earth Summit in June 1992.
>In a Statement on Genetic Engineering issued at a public hearing on GMOs
>organised by the Greens in the European Parliament on March 5 and 6, the
>doctors and scientists point out that GMOs are the product of a
>considerable effort in the area of molecular biology and genetic
>engineering in both the public and private sectors. However, the
>consequences of releasing GMOs into the environment, their behaviour in
>ecosystems or in animal or human food have been the subject of very little
>There is as yet no scientific consensus as to the safety of these products.
>Economic considerations dominate, due to the enormous profit potential on
>the biotechnology market. Policy-makers, they note, are "overwhelmed by
>the rapidity of scientific advances and pressure from industrial groups.
>They comment that more and more voices are being raised concerning
>scientists' responsibility as concerns the risks involved in commercial
>applications of their research. They feel that total liability for damage
>to health or the environment must be assumed, in the EU, by GMO users,
>both as concerns experimentation in open fields and in commercial
>Better yet, they say, an independent and multidisciplinary scientific
>tribunal must be established to study the long -term impact of the use of
>genetic engineering in agriculture, stock breeding and food production on
>human health, the environment and biodiversity.
>No cross-border movement of living GMOs may be authorised until the
>United Nations Protocol on Biosafety comes into effect.
>Patents on man, animals and plants or their components must be prohibited,
>according to the scientists. All products made using genetic engineering
>must bear clear labelling to this effect.
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