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Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998 12:42:56 +0100
From: Richard Wolfson <email@example.com>
Subject: GE News
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Addendum to recent news about BGH controversy in Canada
Due to the increasing controversy over BGH, on Sept 21, the Prime
Minister's Office sent "Talking Points" on BGH and HPB to all Liberal MPs
and Senators. The talking points attributed the controversy over BGH to
"management problems" and "lack of consensus" among HPB scientists. Two
different reports on the safety of BGH were referred to, which were
attributed to differing views among the scientists.
In fact, the second report on BGH was the result of direct orders from
upper level management at Health Canada. The scientists were apparently
ordered to produce a second report by omitting from the first report
information that incriminated the management.
JUDGE BLOCKS MONSANTO GENETICALLY MODIFIED .
> --MONSANTO HAS HIT A stumbling block in its bid to expand genetically
>modified crops in South America. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported
>Sunday a Brazilian judge has blocked a government agency from allowing the
>Missouri -based agri-research company from planting its special soybeans
>in Brazil, a major soybean producer. The beans, which are genetically
>altered to withstand applications of a potent Monsanto weed killer, have
>also stirred controversy in Europe and elsewhere. Opponents say too little
>is known about the long-term effects of the technology.
The Guardian (London) Sept. 23, 1998
SECTION: The Guardian Society
Choice cut; Companies must not be allowed to steamroller genetically
altered food in to the shops without a wider debate, argues John
BYLINE: John Elkington
BODY: Thanks Monsanto, but no thanks! That's what activists and consumers
across Europe want to say to the US company whose attempts to get
genetically modified soya beans and related products on to our tables and
plates are meeting fierce resistance.
Britain's first 'citizen's jury' on the subject convened in Brighton
recently, sitting for 10 evenings and taking evidence from expert
witnesses. The jury was 'horrified' that multinational companies were
being allowed to meddle with our food in what it saw as a 'covert and
Calls for a ban on use of GM organisms. Farmer's Guardian (UK) Sep 25th 1998
Calls for a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms in food
products were made by agricultural farmworkers at the Trades Union Congress
in Blackpool last week.
The call came from Don Pollard,Suffolk farm worker and Chairman of
Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) Rural Allied Agricultural
Workers Union Section, who said the sheer pace of change in food production
is a concern to all.
Mr Pollard called for closely supervised experimentation over a reasonable
period of time including the potential effects on plant life,the enviroment
and animal and human health.
The issue, which was raised at the RAAW's biennial conference in Eastbourne
earlier this summer, won support from Trade Union delegates.
Mr Pollard said the claim by Monsanto that plant genetic engineering will
bring enviromental improvements by reducing the need for pesticide
applications needed to be closely scrutinized.
He argued that major problems had already surfaced around the globe.
"Ther creation of superweeds through related crop transgenes has already
been reported. The use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in genetically
modified food has already been condemned by the Royal Society.
"The destruction of beneficial insects as well sa pests has already
resulted from genetically modified crops", he claimed during his speech to
congress last Wednesday.
In addition to health concerns, Mr Pollard agued that people needed to be
aware of the issues of Multinational control of plant breeding , seed
production, distribution and the use of seeds by farmers.
And he criticized current labelling regulations, saying they were virtually
useless as most soya products were exempted.
The following article forwarded by Dr. Joe Cummins, Professor Emeritus of
Genetics at the Univeristy of Western Ontaria describes cases in which
insects that are resistant to Bt, even if they mate with insects that are
not resistant to Bt, may product insects that are resistant and produce
ecological havoc. The article is a little technical, in the language of
dominant and recessive genes, etc.
Prof. Joe Cummins <firstname.lastname@example.org> says:
Those fighting trials of Bt engineered crops should note the publication
below. It shows that some observed Bt resistance is not recessive (meaning
it is dominant or semi-dominant). The refuge is setting aside areas where
insects may grow. The idea, is that all resistance is recessive and mating
between resistant and sensitive insects will yield sensitive offspring. If
resistance is dominant or semidominant, the mating yields 50% or more
resistant insects! Therefore resistance to Bt will rapidly develop, and
crops with refuges will greatly speed the spread of resistance!
Title: Global variation in the genetic and biochemical basis of diamondback
moth resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis.
Author: Tabashnik BE; Liu YB; Malvar T; Heckel DG; Masson L; Ballester V;
Granero F; MŽensua JL; FerrŽe J
Address: Department of Entomology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, USA.
Source: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 94(24):12780-5 1997 Nov 25
Insecticidal proteins from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)
are becoming a cornerstone of ecologically sound pest management. However,
if pests quickly adapt, the benefits of environmentally benign Bt toxins in
sprays and genetically engineered crops will be short-lived. The
diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) is the first insect to evolve
resistance to Bt in open-field populations. Here we report that populations
from Hawaii and Pennsylvania share a genetic locus at which a recessive
mutation associated with reduced toxin binding confers extremely high
resistance to four Bt toxins. In contrast, resistance in a population from
the Philippines shows multilocus control, a narrower spectrum, and for some
Bt toxins, inheritance that is not recessive and not associated with
reduced binding. The observed variation in the genetic and biochemical
basis of resistance to Bt, which is unlike patterns documented for some
synthetic insecticides, profoundly affects the choice of strategies for
combating resistance. Language
Thanks to Renske van Staveren at International Forum on Food & Agriculture
<email@example.com> for posting this:
FEATURE - Aid agencies say biotechnology won't end hunger
By Claudia Parsons
LONG ASHTON, England, Sept 25 (Reuters) -
Biotechnologists are mounting a major effort to persuade reluctant Britons
that they can learn to love genetically engineered foods. But one of their
key claims -- that the new products could help alleviate world hunger --
are dismissed as exaggerated and misleading by aid agencies working in
famine regions. Demonstrators have torn up experimental crops at dozens of
test sites in Britain to protest against what they call "Frankenstein
food". Heir to the throne Prince Charles -- who is so fond of plants that
he has even been known to talk to them -- has issued a warning that food
genetic engineering "takes mankind into realms that belong to God and God
Opponents say traits such as herbicide resistance in genetically modifed
crops could cross over into wild species, and plants engineered to resist
certain pests have harmed other insects that are actually beneficial.
Proponents say genetic modification could reduce the use of harmful
U.S. firm **Monsanto** is trying make blue cotton by introducing a gene
from a blue flower so that less toxic dye will be needed to meet global
demand for jeans. But one of the main arguments advanced by
biotechnologists has been that the expansion of the world's population will
mean we need to grow more and better food, and genetic engineering can help
**MONSANTO** MOUNTS MAJOR CAMPAIGN
**Monsanto** is spending one million pounds ($1.68 million) on an
advertising campaign to win over British consumers. "Worrying about
starving future generations won't feed them. Food biotechnology will,"
reads the headline on full page advertisements in several national
newspapers. Company spokesman Dan Verakis said that did not mean
**Monsanto** was claiming biotechnology would "feed the world".
"Biotechnology is one effective tool at addressing that bigger issue of a
global food source that is both stable and sustainable," he said. Professor
Peter Shewry, whose independent research is largely government- funded,
also sees potential for genetic engineering to help developing countries.
At the Institute of Arable Crops Research in Long Ashton in southwest
England he is trying to improve wheat for breadmaking.
"If we don't use modern methods we'll be looking at a situation of high
cost food and food of poor quality," Shewry said. "That will be okay for
people in Britain, but it will be harder for people in the developing
world." With 800 million hungry people in the world today, and global
population likely to rise by 2.5 billion in the next three decades, the
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says food production must
rise by some 75 percent in that period.
AID AGENCIES OBJECT
But Isabel McCrea, head of campaigns at one of Britain's largest overseas
development agencies, ActionAid, said biotechnology could only ever play a
minor role. Genetically engineered crops as they are currently being
designed are for use in intensive agriculture, she said, which was not in
the interests of small farmers growing a variety of crops for their own
"It's not to say that there is no way one could genetically engineer crop
varieties that would be of use," McCrea said. "Our point is that by and
large this is a technology that's being developed for profit. It is not to
any degree going to help with world poverty. "We are appalled by the
cynical use of that argument by the industry to convince northern consumers
that this is a technology that they should accept."
Clive Robinson, a spokesman for Christian Aid, said the key flaw in the
biotechnology companies' argument was the assumption that world hunger was
caused by scarcity of food. "The world already grows more than enough food
to feed all the people in it. The problem is that many people in developing
countries don't have access to food or to the resources they need to grow
more food for themselves. "Farmers in Africa need more or better versions
of seeds that have been used in their own fields rather than the sort of
hi-tech or external hybrids peddled by the international seed companies,"
David Cooper, a specialist on plant genetic resources at the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organisation, said biotechnology would never replace
conventional plant breeding. "In these difficult environments, the
environment is so varied and so specific you need solutions that are
tailored to those particular areas. "A one-size-fits-all approach is
unlikely to be the optimum approach in terms of production," he said.
"We're also worried about a jamming up of the free flow of access to
genetic resources. There's no proper mechanism for sharing of benefits,"
Cooper said. "We have a concern with intellectual property rights and
patents when they limit the rights of the farmer to resow his own seed.
This will interfere with the need of farmers to selectively improve what
they have," he said.
McCrea said another concern was that genetic engineering was almost
exclusively in the hands of a few multinational agrochemical companies
rather than in the public sector. "It's being developed by six to eight
multinational companies who are also buying up seed companies. This trend
towards monopolisation is very worrying because it does mean that farmers
in the south will have little or no choice but to take genetically
But Verakis of **Monsanto** said such criticism ignored the company's basic
self-interest. "If there was any problem that occurred in the environment
because of these crops it would be extremely damaging, if not fatal, to our
future," he said. ($1=.5951 Pounds)
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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