Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 20:50:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thanks to email@example.com (jim mcnulty) for posting the following
Humans risk deadly virus from pig organs
August 28, 1998
LONDON, Reuters [WS] via NewsEdge Corporation : Pig organ transplants,
while offering hope of an end to a worldwide organ shortage, carry the risk
of infecting humans with new, possibly deadly viruses, Britain's Lancet
medical journal said on Friday.
Pigs are reckoned to be the most practical species to use for transplants
into humans, being the right size, easy to raise and until recently thought
to be fairly free of pathogens that could threaten transplant recipients.
But British scientists last year found that a virus -- called porcine
endogenous retrovirus (PERV) -- whose genes are found scattered throughout
a pig's genetic make-up is shed by pig kidney cells, and, in cell culture,
can infect human cells.
``The discovery sparked fears that if pig organs were used for
transplantation they could introduce new, possibly deadly disease-cutting
viruses into the human population,'' the weekly journal said.
According to the Lancet, a German research group has now found that the
PERV virus is produced by cells from pig aortas, livers, lungs and skin as
well as from the kidneys. These are all tissues likely to be used for
GREENPEACE/ Greenpeace reveals Monsanto's uncontrolled field test in
August 26, 1998
M2 PRESSWIRE via NewsEdge Corporation : * International rules needed to
control the trade of transgenic crops
Greenpeace announced today the result of its investigation into an
uncontrolled genetic field test of Monsanto in the Eastern European country
The report reveals how Monsanto used the lack of legislation in Georgia to
test its transgenic potatoes using local farmers to grow the potatoes
without informing them of the potential risks to biodiversity and their
traditional farming methods. Greenpeace is urging the international
community meeting at the UN Biosafety Protocol negotiations in Montreal, to
agree on legally binding rules to control the proliferation of genetically
"Monsanto sold Georgian farmers transgenic seed potatoes without telling
them what it meant", said Greenpeace Russia campaign director Ivan Blokov
in Moscow. "Monsanto took advantage of the lack of legislation in Georgia
and applied double standards since none of the precautions required in the
US have been implemented in Georgia. As a result, organic farmers in
Georgia could lose their best pest control tool and their organic status."
Monsanto's transgenic "Naturemark" NewLeaf potatoes were imported to
Georgia in 1996 under a seed potato project initiated by the Georgian
Ministry of Agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture received USD 350 000
from European Union Technical Assistance programme to the Commonwealth of
Independent States (TACIS) to buy these transgenic potato seeds.
Apparently, the EU had not been informed that the project involved
The Monsanto potatoes turned out to be a financial disaster for the
farmers. The yield was only one third to one half of that expected and as a
result several farmers fell into debt. Greenpeace's investigation shows
that the transgenic potatoes are now circulating in Georgia and in
neighbouring countries, Russia and Azerbaijan.
"This investigation is a good illustration of the need for international
rules to control genetic engineering activities, especially the
transboundary movements of genetically engineered organisms", said Louise
Gale of Greenpeace International currently attending the UN negotiations
for a Biosafety Protocol in Montreal. "We have always known that the
agro-chemical industry will not act responsibly to protect biodiversity and
human health unless there are binding rules to make them to do so. Such
rules must include a thorough environmental and health assessment based on
the precautionary principle and indicate who will take responsibility if
things go wrong."
Greenpeace is calling on Monsanto, the US, Georgia and the EU to
immediately recall the transgenic potatoes circulating in Georgia and
neighbouring regions, to compensate farmers for any losses they sustain
from these transgenic potatoes and to set up a compensation fund in Georgia
to restore any potential damage to the environment.
"Monsanto has shown a cynical attitude to exploiting the lack of rules in
this newly independent state. The genetech industry is placing pressure on
governments across the world to weaken the Biosafety Protocol so that they
can continue this sort of wild-west approach.
Greenpeace is appealing to governments not to succumb to these pressures
and to place protection of biodiversity, including human health, first and
foremost in their positions in these negotiations."
Note to editors: The full report is available on the internet site
<<M2 PRESSWIRE -- 08/25/98>>
CONTACT: Stefan Weber, Greenpeace consultant Tel: +7-095-257 4116
Ivan Blokov, campaign director, Greenpeace Russia Tel: +7-095-257 4122
Louise Gale, Greenpeace political advisor Tel: +1 514-898 3587
Mika Railo, Greenpeace International press desk Tel: +31-20-5249 548
Here is a summary by Dr. Joe Cummins <firstname.lastname@example.org >, Professor
Emeritus of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario, of the following
The scientific article below shows that potaoes are being genetically
engineered to contain mother's milk. --- Dr. Cummins
Title: Expression of the human milk protein beta-casein in transgenic
Author: Chong DK; Roberts W; Arakawa T; Illes K; Bagi G; Slattery CW;
Address: Center for Molecular Biology and Gene Therapy, School of Medicine,
Loma Linda, CA, USA.
Source: Transgenic Res, 6(4):289-96 1997 Jul Abstract A 1177
bp cDNA fragment encoding the human milk protein beta-casein was introduced
into Solanum tuberosum cells under control of the auxin-inducible,
bidirectional mannopine synthase (mas1',2') promoters using Agrobacterium
tumefaciens-mediated leaf disc transformation methods.
Antibiotic-resistant plants were regenerated and transformants selected
based on luciferase activity carried by the expression vector containing
the human beta-casein cDNA. The presence of human beta-casein cDNA in the
plant genome was detected by PCR and DNA hybridization experiments. Human
beta-casein mRNA was identified in leaf tissues of transgenic plants by
RT-PCR analysis. Human beta-casein was identified in auxin-induced leaf and
tuber tissues of transformed potato plants by immunoprecipitation and
immunoblot analysis. Human beta-casein produced in transgenic plants
migrated in polyacrylamide gels as a single band with an approximate
molecular mass of 30 kDa. Immunoblot experiments identified approximately
0.01% of the total soluble protein of transgenic potato leaf tissue as
beta-casein. The above experiments demonstrate the expression of human milk
beta-casein as part of an edible food plant. These findings open the way
for reconstitution of human milk in edible plants for replacement of bovine
milk in baby foods for general improvement of infant nutrition, and for
prevention of gastric and intestinal diseases in children.
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.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
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