>The species themselves and not doing the taking and inserting,
>and the people doing it are doing it via mechanical or chemical
>means, as distinguished from "husbandry" consisting of breeding
>methods that involve the appropriate sexual organs of the
>organisms being combined.
that's only partially true. think of colchicine and gammy
>In that sense, the
>"ownership" is more important than the knowledge, which is more
>like genetics - easily transferred,
i think, these days unfortunately are also gone in all other
fields. it began, when the first patent offices was established.
so genetic engineering is no exception. i'm not surprised to
find, that private companies are running for patents. the
shameful thing is, that governmental institutes are also involved
in patenting (see usda and "terminator", here in germany it is
the largest scientific research community , the
max-planck-institute). so you pay twice, first for the research
for the patent (by taxes) and later the 2nd time for the patent
>legislative attention must be focused on the issue.
i would say: additionally. but i wonder, why everyone calls for
the government, when he has the decision in his own hands.
several days ago there was a posting, in which s.o. asked for
reasons, why we would refuse gm products. to me that's the wrong
for example i am almost a vegetarian and am surely not
willing to discuss with cattle breeders, whether i'm willing
or even shall be forced to buy their meat, just because he
grows cattle and because it contains high levels of protein,
enzymes and vitamins. would i be a total vegetarian, i would
not even consider to buy something, which MIGHT contain
meat. no discussion, no reasoning with anyone! it is my sole
decision. and it has NOTHING to do with scientific
reasoning. the same goes for kosher meat for jews or swines
for moslems. do not look for a scientific background, where
there isn't any (or only a minor one)...
although as an agronomist i see a lot of advantages, this
does not imply, that i must see the same advantages as a
may i ask, why i (as a consumer) should be in the defense
situation of explaining, why i refuse this or that ? isn't
it usually just the other way round ? i have the money and
so it's me to decide how to spend it. i thought, that was
one of the best known facts in america and the reason, why
there are PR-agencies.... and i'm astonished, why a lot of
writers here feel themselves in the defense and have to
explain, why they are "luddists".
bioindustry has something valuable to sell ? so they should
convince me, that my money is well spent in their gene food.
up to now they came up with a flavr-savr, that tasted like a
paper handkerchief, a better tasting tomato paste (which was
a market success, you see: no global refusal of gm-products)
and for the billions spent, an amazingly low number of
agronomical advantages (which do not interest me at all as a
consumer). seems, as if all these thousands of nice and very
special research papers from the lab do not add up to a
wholesome result in the field. and i wonder, where we might
be, if all these billions would have been spent in
conventional breeding. levontin for harvard and one of the
most famous breeders from INRA for example published a
paper, where they showed, that there is no real advantage for
hybrid seed and conventional corn would have the same
yields, if breeders had spent the same money in it.
a year ago i had a discussion with the represent of the
largest seed company in germany and he whined, that they are
tired of explaining the advantages of genetic engineering to
the public. so i asked the question in the highly frequented
fido-area "wissen.ger" (german scientific discussion), if
they heard anything of that company and their explanations.
guess what ? NOONE EVER heard anything of them, most did not
even know the company's name !! my oh my!! and they call
this enlightening the public ??
for a better understanding: for a consumer there is no
advantage in better industrial processing characteristics or
a bacteria-resistant tomato, he simply buys from another
batch or switches to a carrot salad...
high vitamin content ? not bad, but consumers can choose among a
broad variety of vitamin pills maybe from the same "life science"-
company, who is the owner of the gm-seeds.
some vitamins are produced by gm-bacteria ? for most people
the advantage will be evident (though in this case not for
me), so it may be a clear buy !
but not according to the technicians on my lab. i asked those, who
are gm-opponents, if they would buy a vitamine-enriched
gm-variety. clear-cut answer: no. then i asked the women among
them, if, PROVIDED they would get cellulitis, if they would buy a
salad, which would help against it. they all answered with a YES !
(i'm almost sure, men would have given the same answer, if
there were a vegetable producing viagra)
now, would you tell me, if you see is any scheme behind that ??
i do not see it. (doesn't matter, they would not offer their money
for the vitamins. case closed)
the leak has virus resistance ? where's the meat ? may they
sell the veined leak elsewhere...
seedless grapes ? well, but not really needed, god (or
whosoever) provided me with a tongue to spit them out..
nothing more but a nice gag, for which only some people are
willing to pay. and besides (not so important) also
breedable by conventional means.
higher yields ? we already pay enough subsidaries and each pound
more increases the sum. as a farmer i would welcome it and would
as all the others run straight into "the tragedy of
the commons". no escape ! under this view i also understood ann
clark's "thank god yields are lower", which people might
misunderstand at first glance (me too).
ozone-tolerant plants ? wouldn't it be better to solve the
probleme ozone at it's basis ?
rbgh ? more milk, more mastitis by growth stress, so even
conflicting for the farmer..
seems, as if for every advantage i also have to
swallow a toad. nice deal.
an anticancer-drug or hiv-vaccine derived from a gm-plant ?
where is it ?, i'm sure it would be accepted immediately and
people would stop throwing bomb after bomb in gene splicers
fusarium-resistant grains ? fantastic ! but this will be an
"trade-off", for which you can wait until doomsday. it would
interferes between the seeds and the fungicides of the same
so where are these fantastic and revolutionary gm-product
improvements for me, the consumer ?? small improvement -
small encitement for a buy...
you see, i'm no absolute opponent of biotechnology, but up to now
i find their advertisements nothing but hype and their behaviour
against me, the consumer, just disgusting. look at the
stockmarket, bio technology companies are having more and more
problems to explain to their shareholders, why despite the
billions of investment up to now they haven't come up with
something really worthy. last week i read in the "handelsblatt"
(the german counterpart of "wall street journal") of an american
biotech-company, who totally failed in the usa and tried a new
start in germany's stock market. their big mistake: a reporter
from the handelsblatt got wind of an internal memo saying, that
"germans are easier to be DUPED by nice advertisements than
americans". over and out for their business..
or take this research paper title:
PRODUCTION OF FERTILE TRANSGENIC PEANUT (ARACHIS HYPOGAEA L)
PLANTS USING AGROBACTERIUM TUMEFACIENS
what a marvellous result. fertile peanuts !! they may even have
celebrated their success. i only can wonder, how peanut growers
have managed to replicate their fruits in the last 5000 years....
last year i even saw a paper from an american university,
telling us, that they have successfully cloned a bacterium.
imagine that !!!! they cloned a bacterium!! some funders
might even be highly impressed ;-))
i'm tired of these kind of advertisements. take a look in the
special edition of fortune (25. birthday-edition) in the 50ies,
where they asked the most prominent scientists for predictions,
how the world would look like in 30 years. not even SOME of these
predictions came true, it was NONE of them. and NOONE foresaw ANY
of the real industrial revolutions.
take the case of your fireants, which increased it's
percentage among your ants from 1 to 99 % due to pesticid
recommandations of your marvellous scientists. take the case
of lead/arsen-pesticides in the beginning of this century.
the head of the entomological department of the usda
(certainly a scientist, his name was doggerel), declared
"there is ABSOLUTELY NO risk in using them" and his
collegues lamented over "the warnings of of some ignorants"
they even made a poem for the farmers (i have to retranslate
it, so mileage may vary):
spray, you farmers, spray with ardour,
spray peach, pear and apple !
spray against scab, spray against blight,
keep on spraying, and do it right.
(taken from james whorton; before silent spring: pesticides
and public health in pre-ddt america, princeton 1974, p.
and if you ask for any responsability for their work, you
get the same answers, the allies got, when after the war
they asked for responsablity among the hanger-ons of the
nazis: "but we did not know...". there were more people, who
concealed a jew, than we had jews at all. are there any
scientists, who went to jail for hurting public health ?
reminds me of one of the nicest scenes in bogarts
"casablanca". when he was asked by the french officer, why
he came to marocco, he answered: "i came for the beautiful
waters". the officer: "but this is desert land, there are NO
waters here". and rick's answer (which might also be that of
modern gene splicers in 20 years): "i was misinformed!"
i make a prediction: all these companies will have strangled
themselves with their indiscriminating sequencing patents in
acouple of year. these will make research impossible and
applications more expensive than before. maybe i should
invest in lawyer incorporated companies....
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