>> It is incredible to me that you would be willing to say this
>> in public, Dale. I fear it will come back to haunt you.
>Well, maybe so. But everybody I know (except on a list-server or
>thinks GMO's are okay.
it seems, that things look quite different over here. and believe
it or not, although the neanderthal is just 100 km away from
here, we have made some progress in the last 15.000 years.
scientists here are in a raging battle of argumenting pro and
>> I have never seen such a gap between what most scientists
>> (supposedly) think about an issue and the clear trend of
>> public opinion world wide, as I see currently on this issue.
>Oh yeah, I agree! (maybe not in the US) It's phenomenal, it's
>political, it has something to do with distrust of science and
>technology in general, and with vitalism.
people definitely HAVE lost some trust in science here. one may
speculate over the reasons, but that does not change the facts.
and people are tired of being called luddists, when they ask for
investigation. the highest support for alternative medicine,
esoteric, trips to indian yogis and to the toscana in italy for
potters's workshops and for organic food (i hear the revolting
cries for throwing all this in one pot, but for me they all have
something in common) is found among the better educated (and thus
well-off) people (at least here in western europe).
and maybe as there are a lot of scientists among them, they might
be aware of the deficiencies of their own jobs. one of them is,
that scientists have lost contact to nature, they work in
air-conditioned laboratories on a small and well defined task and
have become specialists up to the extreme. i know of agricultural
M.S.'s, who have not the slightest idea, how a barley plant
differs from a wheat plant nor when you have to sow peas. but
they can tell you all about gene promoters, loci, aminases,
recombinating and sequencing machines. not to forget: they can
tell you all about risks of gm ! one of the consequences is, that
they do not have the time to OBSERVE evident results of their
work. if i do a literature search, i always take into account
some of the older and even very old works (you might know them,
they look a bit strange for today's readers : "as my very honored
collegue, prof. wilson wrote me in a note from guinea, he also
had done investigations and observed the following......").
certainly these articles are useless, if you look for molecular
chemistry, genetics or modern technology, but they are very
valuable, if you are looking for results in entomology or
toxicology and you find results, noone is looking for today..
quite inspiring for today's researchers - if they had the time (i
also can only read them in my leasure time at home, but i would
not wanna miss them)
we have a lack of field researchers and toxicologists (92-95% of
the german toxicologists work for the industry, which results in
8 to 10% in the government and i deeply hope, that the gaussian
distribution of knowledge and intelligence is equally distributed
among both groups) and an overhead of statisticians, chemists and
theoretical scientists !
>I did the following lit search a few weeks ago in Agricola and
>Biosis to get info for a high school student working on a
> No. Records Request
> 1 21465 transgenic
> 2 6850 transgenic in de
> 5 171870 risk
>I haven't scrutinized these, but there was no obvious
you do agree, that the results of a search engine or a retrieval
programm highly depends on the used catchwords?
i did the same like you and at first came to the same conclusion.
then i did, for example, an "AND"-search on "transgenic AND
lectin" and prompty found the first hints for risks. you remember
the "pusztay-case" ? i never took these posting really serious,
as the behinds were quite contradictory and i am far too long in
that business to know nothing of these old "professores emeriti",
who cannot be send into pension, no matter what nonsense they are
teaching when getting really old and queer. some of them continue
to come to their old institute and in rare cases do nothing but
disturb the good work of their successors. you simply can't send
them home, they still insist on their working room and are
bringing constant quarrel to the institute.. so the dean
sometimes has to put an impolite and definite end to it. that's
no global insult on professors, that's just the way of life.
and you know max planck's remark on new theories and change in
i remember having seen some of pusztay's works of the 50ies
without special interest in them, but they already dealt with
lectins. now for the interesting part: among a lot of other
articles mentioning risks i found the following article, which
dealth with the same theme as the dubious? article, for which he
was being chased:
----- snip ------
Pusztai A. Koninkx J. Hendriks H. Kok W. Hulscher S.
Vandamme EJM. Peumans WJ. Grant G. Bardocz S.
Effect of the insecticidal Galanthus nivalis agglutinin on
metabolism and the activities of brush border enzymes in the rat
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 7(12):677-682, 1996 Dec.
With increasing use of lectin genes in crop plants to improve
insect resistance, the dietary exposure of humans to lectins will
rise and it is necessary to assess whether the presently most
favored insecticidal lectin, Galanthus nivalis agglutinin, would
be harmful for mammals. Effects of Galanthus nivalis agglutinin
on gut and brush border enzymes were studied in rats over a
10-day dietary exposure and compared with those of a known
antinutrient, phytohaemagglutinin. At a level that provides
insecticidal protection for plants but did not reduce the growth
Of young rats, Galanthus nivalis agglutinin had negligible
effects on the weight and length of the small intestine even
though there was a slight, but significant hypertrophy of this
tissue. However, the activities of brush border enzymes were
affected; sucrase-isomaltase activity was nearly halved and those
of alkaline phosphatase and aminopeptidase were significantly
increased. Although most of the changes in gut metabolism caused
by the incorporation of Galanthus nivalis agglutinin in the diet
were less extensive than those found with toxic
phytohaemagglutinin, some of them may be potentially deleterious.
Thus, further and longer animal studies are needed to establish
whether it is safe to use Galanthus nivalis agglutinin in
transgenic plants destined for human consumption.
----- end snip -----
you see, he evidently published the same results already a year
before in a team and there was no opposition from the dean at
rowett. now the one-million-dollar-question to you: what might be
the reason about all that fuzz one year later ? it would be
HIGHLY interesting to know, when monsanto started their funding
at rowett !!!!!
know what i mean, why it's sometimes very good to look for older
or even very old articles ??
i may be wrong, but i think, the refusal of the european does not
so much result from fear of risks, but from the way, they are
treated by the nutritional industry. for us it is no good sign,
that industry fears, a declaration will be bad for sales. and it's
the ignorance of the first and most important maxime of the
market. it's more the question, who will decide, what will be
served on our tables: the consumer or the industry ?
question: what is the most important characteristic of a consumer
yeah, he has the money, which the producer likes to have in
exchange against something the consumer likes to have. if he does
not like it (or need it), he will not sell it. point ! it is more
a battle in the market, whether the producer or the consumer will
decide, what to buy and what not to buy. the biotech companies
have hired extremely expensive public relation companies like
burmaster for answering questions, an old marketwoman in a
farmer's market could tell them far better and for free : sell,
what the consumer wants or needs, all other things are marketing
flops!! why is this simple fact so difficult to understand ?
maybe because they are producing more than we need, so they need
to push their products into consumer's throats and we might
suffocate on it. ?
> I know it is hard to imagine in our sanitized,
>public-health-saturated culture, but lurking just beyond the door
>are all manner of flesh-eating, child-ulcerating,
>immune-deceiving, spirochete-insidious, viral-cell-subverting,
>hemorragic natural stuff that evolved to kill and eat you and me
>by quite natural horizontal-transfer and spectacularly rare
>quasi-sexual events over hundreds of millions of years.
that's all right and fine, but there's no reason to add up more
risks than we already have to deal with. there IS hysteria (it is
evident) among some people and i cannot follow some of their
arguments or ideologies among organic growers (some weeks ago i
saw an advertisement for "organic tobacco". let me ask the
reader: is any smoker more comforted, if he knows, that his lung
myelom results from "organic" tobacco and is an "organic" cancer
more natural than a "conventional" one ?? they are selling
poison, no matter how they name it. (btw: i'm a smoker and
that says it all about the madness and ill-logic of people!)
BUT: there are reasons, why organic and sustainable agriculture
in total go together much better than today's high-tech and
high-energy agriculture.. (and that's why i subscribed to that
group to learn more about it ! unfortunately there is less and
less discussion about sustainable farming and more and more about
gmo's. sustainable farming is not restricted to using no gmo's.
**[Quote of the day, powered by k. wiegand]********
* I came to MIT to get an education for myself *
* and a diploma for my mother. *
* - Richard Feynman *
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