Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 09:47:50 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson <email@example.com>
Subject: GE News
Report on Business Magazine
REPORTER HYPERBOLE CHECK
Biotechnology Morgan Stanley analyst Doug Lind 07/31/98
The Globe and Mail Page 14
The Hype- In the early '90s, smart, agile biotech companies were the new
Merlins: From drugs to treat cancer and AIDS, to building a better pig, or
customizing microbes to eat oil spills, they promised miracles of the
medical, environmental and, especially, financial variety. In 1991, more
than 100 biotech companies went public in the United States alone, and
Canadian companies like Cangene Corp., Biomira Inc., BioChem Pharma Inc.
and Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc. were golden. That year, biotech was
the best-performing sector among U.S. equity mutuals, with an average
return of 74%. This rosy scenario led analysts like Michael Jams of Dlouhy
Investments to assert, "The thinking is that the way to make money is to
buy biotech stocks. This is the hot new sector of the '90s."
The reality Since 1991, biotech has been on a roller coaster, crashing
in '92, perking slightly in '94 and flat-lining in '97. Over all, the
sector has fired more blanks than silver bullets. The research,
development and marketing of new pharmaceutical products is a lengthy,
capital-intensive, oft-delayed process, and the gap between the blue sky
and the blue Viagra pill on the cover of Time has turned out to be too
great for impatient investors in an overheated market.
* In 1997, the TSE biotech index dropped 5.06%.
* Yorkton Securities's life sciences index fell almost 17% that year.
* "[T]he biotech sector will continue to underperform in 1998.
Most products will fail, and many companies will fail. There will be big
winners and big losers, but the net effect will probably be
dead-in-the-water zero growth."
Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org (jim mcnulty)
The Observer [UK] Sunday 9th AUGUST 98.
OPEN LETTER. From Salil Shetty. Chief Executive of Action Aid.
Dear Robert Shapiro
In last Sunday's Observer, Monsanto, of which you are chairman and chief
executive, claimed that food biotechnology will feed 'starving future
generations'. This was the latest installment in your company's £1 million
advertising campaign aimed at convincing the public that genetically
engineered crops will benefit the world. But your company is wrong. Rather
than reducing world hunger, genetic engineering is likely to exacerbate it.
My major concern is that the biotech 'solution' being promoted by Monsanto
will have a devastating impact on the world's poorest people. Your advert
claims 'it is the 'responsible way' to provide food for the next century. I
believe the 'Monsanto way' is to make small farmers dependent on your
products. This will lead to the decline of sustainable farming, denying
farmers their right to use appropriate farming methods to produce their own
Your company has bought the technology to produce genetically engineered
seeds which are sterile and can only be grown for one year. This
'development' will deprive farmers of their right to collect and grow their
own seeds freely. As natural varieties die out, farmers will be forced to
buy new genetically engineered seeds every year and their current efforts
to save and breed their own seeds will be totally undermined. Farmers will
be caught in a vicious circle, increasingly dependent on a small number of
multinationals, such as Monsanto, for their survival.
For twenty five years Action Aid has been listening to poor farmers and
supporting their efforts to maintain sustainable farming. Even though the
world's population is growing, we know it produces enough food for all -
food mountains are evidence of this. It is the inequitable distribution of
food that is keeping millions hungry.
Finally, your advertising campaign completely fails to mention the very
significant risks involved in releasing genetically engineered crops into
the natural enviroment. Your advert states that that the implications of
biotechnology are 'massive'. I agree.
Monsanto could be responsible for introducing a new enemy to developing
countries. If crops are genetically engineered to be resistant to weed
killer, they may cross-pollinate with 'wild species' to produce 'super
weeds' which cannot be controlled.
The truth is, Mr Shapiro, that genetically engineered crops will a 'better
way forward' for Monsanto's profits, but could be huge step backwards for
the world's poor.
Salil Shetty is chief executive of Action Aid.
"LET NATURE'S HARVEST CONTINUE"
Statement from all the African delegates (except South Africa) to FAO
negotiations on the International Undertaking for Plant Genetic Resources,
June 1998; due to be published in the European media in late July 1998
(Document begins) During the past few weeks European citizens have been
exposed to an aggressive publicity campaign in major European newspapers
trying to convince the reader that the world needs genetic engineering to
feed the hungry. Organised and financed by Monsanto, one of the world's
biggest chemical companies, and titled "Let the Harvest Begin", this
campaign gives a totally distorted and misleading picture of the potential
of genetic engineering to feed developing countries.
We, the undersigned delegates of African countries participating in the 5th
Extraordinary Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources, 8 - 12 June
1998, Rome, strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our
countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a
technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly, nor economically
beneficial to us.
It is time to look at some of the facts about the company behind this
Monsanto is one of the world's largest pesticide companies. During the past
two years only it spent over US$6000 million to take control over other
seed and biotechnology companies and is now the major industrial player in
this field. Its major focus is not to protect the environment, but to
develop crops that can resist higher doses of its best-selling chemical
Rather than stretching a helping hand to farmers, Monsanto threatens them
with lawsuits and jail. In the USA, the company employs detectives to find
and bring to court those farmers that save Monsanto soybean seeds for next
year's planting. Backed by patent law, the company demands the rights to
inspect the farmers' fields to check whether they practise agriculture
according to Monsanto conditions and with Monsanto chemicals.
Rather than developing technology that feeds the world, Monsanto uses
genetic engineering to stop farmers from replanting seed and further
develop their agricultural systems. It has spent US$18000 million to buy a
company owning a patent on what has become known as Terminator Technology:
seed that can be planted only once and dies in the second generation. The
only aim of this technology is to force farmers back to the Monsanto shop
every year, and to destroy an age old practice of local seed saving that
forms the basis of food security in our countries.
In "Let the Harvest Begin" the Europeans are asked to give an unconditional
green light to gene technology so that chemical corporations such as
Monsanto can start harvesting their profits from it. We do not believe
that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce
the food that is needed in the 21st century. On the contrary, we think it
will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable
agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia and that
it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.
In particular, we will not accept the use of Terminator or other gene
technologies that kill the capacity of our farmers to grow the food we
need. We invite European citizens to stand in solidarity with Africa in
resisting these gene technologies so that our diverse and natural harvests
can continue and grow.
We agree and accept that mutual help is needed to further improve
agricultural production in our countries. We also believe that Western
science can contribute to this. But it should be done on the basis of
understanding and respect for what is already there. It should be building
on local knowledge, rather than replacing and destroying it. And most
importantly: it should address the real needs of our people, rather than
serving only to swell the pockets and control of giant industrial
Jean Marie Fodoun, Cameroun
George A. Agbahungba, Benin
Paul Therence Senghor, Senegal
Koffi Goti, Cote d'Ivoire
Mokosa Madende, Congo Democ
Jean Jacques Rakotonalala, Madagascar
Juvent Baramburiye, Burundi
Worku Damena, Ethiopia
Gietaturn Mulat, Ethiopia
M.S. Harbi, Sudan
Eltahir Ibrahim Mohamed, Sudan
Maria A. Calane da Silva, Mozambique
Kohna Nganara Ngawara, Tchad
Nkeoua Gregoire, Congo
Mugorewera Drocella, Rwanda
H. Yahia-Cafrif, Algeria
Abebe Demissie, Ethiopia
G.P. Mwila, Zambia
Dr S.H. Raljtsogle, Lesotho
Naceu Hamza, Tunisia
Hambourne Mellas, Morocco
Elizabeth Matos, Angola
Tewolde Berhane Gebre Egziabher, Ethiopia
Additional statement by Zimbabwean delegate:
"Africa should not be used as a testing ground for technologies and
products which have been developed elsewhere. We reserve our sovereign
right to test these technologies ourselves, examine their effectiveness and
compatibility to the environment in our region."
US Children Used to Test Crop Genetic Engineering?
by Prof. Joe Cummins
Many list members will recollect that I have written a number of articles
about the use of Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) genes in crop genetic
engineering. The clear majority if not all, the genetically engineered
crops now being sold use an essential gene, called a promoter, from CaMV to
make their for herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, etc. work.
The virus gene takes over an essential function that makes the foreign
active in the genetically engineered crop. The CaMV genes were not tested
for their safety in humans and there are valid concerns about the impact
of such genes and their recombination with other viruses.
A recently published experiment raises disturbing questions about
government and academic approval of experiments using human subjects. The
article "Pathogen transmission in child care settings studied by using
cauliflower virus DNA as a surrogate marker" Jiang,X et.al J.Infect. Dis.
177,881-8,1998 April used CaMV DNA to study pathogen transmission from
"sensitized" article such as toys to infants and children child care homes
and child care centers in Virginia.
The DNA was stable for over a month in the child environment. Toddlers were
found to spread CaMV more efficiently than infants and hand touching was
found to be the main source of DNA spread. CaMV was spread from the child
care center to the children's homes.
The experiment really follows epidemiological studies of disease bacteria
and virus spread in child care environments. The experiments do not
contribute a great deal to the study of disease spread in child care
environments but they are most valuable to the crop genetic engineering
industry, who will use such experiments in the safety evaluation of
genetically engineered crops.
The industry will not flaunt such child-infant experiments to the public,
but in the back rooms where governments evaluate the safety of crops the
experiment provides a piece of evidence to please the needs of huge
multinational companies who control patents and production of genetically
However, the use of CaMV DNA with children and infants does entail
significant risks that seem to have been ignored by the researchers. A
growing body of research shows that DNA taken up by injection (or through
cuts and abrasions) or breathed through the nose associated with dust like
particulate can trigger production of the protein products of the gene that
then trigger allergy .
Spreading virus DNA in public places is likely promote recombination of the
virus genes to create novel and threatening virus pathogens but the point
is that there is little or no laboratory experimentation to allow judgement
as weather or not the experiment is safe or very unsafe. The published
experiments show that government and academe accept the principle governing
crop genetic engineering that everything is safe until it has been proven
to have created a disaster. The United States is plumbing the depths of the
third Reich by allowing infants and children to be experimented on.
Times (london) August 10 1998 BRITAIN Line
Nigel Hawkes on new evidence about dangers of genetically modified food
Gene potatoes damage rats' immune systems
GENETICALLY modified potatoes can damage the immune systems of rats, a
research project in Aberdeen has discovered.
Professor Arpad Puztai, of the Rowett Research Institute, will say on
tonight's World in Action on ITV that he will not eat genetically-modifed
crops until they have undergone at least as exhaustive a trial. "If I had
the choice I would certainly not eat it until I see at least comparable
experimental evidence," he says.
The trials have been carried out on potatoes carrying genes from both the
snowdrop and the jackbean. The genes are responsible for producing proteins
called lectins, which protect the parent plants from aphid and nematode
attack. Potatoes resistant to these pests could be valuable.
But lectins are known to damage immune-system cells, so the feeding
experiments with rats were designed to see if the damage occurred when the
lectins were present in the potatoes. In the case of the snowdrop lectin,
no such effect was observed, but the jackbean lectin did suppress the
Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign,
for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term
Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
500 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596
Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html
contains more information on genetic engineering as well as
previous genetic engineering news items
Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 for 12 months
See website for details.
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command