Check out this snipit from Environews.
Enviro-Newsbrief July 26, 1999
The following is a daily update summarizing news of interest
to EPA staff. It includes information from current news sources:
newspapers, newsletters, and other publications. For more
information, contact the EPA Headquarters Information Resources
Center at (202) 260-5922, or e-mail LIBRARY-HQ.
**Viewpoints expressed in the following summaries do not
necessarily reflect EPA policy**
Scientists Find New Way to Manipulate Plant Genes and Modify Crop
Traits. The Wall Street Journal, July 20, 1999, pB6.
Genetic engineering of plants may soon be a thing of the
past, if a recent breakthrough pans out. The new technique was
described in two articles in the current journal of the National
Academy of Sciences.
Borrowed from a technique that is used to treat genetic
illness in humans, the new process does not involve adding any
foreign genes. Genes already present in the plant are
manipulated to do things, such as modifying a wheat plant for
making heartier bread, reducing the caffeine in coffee beans or
eliminating fatty acids in cooking oils.
One article was written by researchers at Boyce Thompson
Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University in Ithaca, New
York. The other article was written by scientists at Pioneer Hi-
Bred International Incorporated, an Iowa seed giant that has
agreed to be acquired by the DuPont company.
The new method is called "chimeraplasty', and it allows
scientists to turn on or off or change genes already present in
plants. Because it does not involve the insertion of foreign
genes, researcher hope it will be more acceptable to
environmentalists who fear unintended consequences of genetically
modified plants. There has been much resistance here and
especially in the European Union to genetically modified crops.
Patents for the new process are held by Kimeragen
Incorporated, a closely-held firm in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
Kimeragen got the nonprofit Boyce Thompson Institute to help it
figure out how to apply its technique to plants.
Douglas B. Johnson, Ph.D.
Alameda Center for Environmental Technologies
851 West Midway Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
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