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Date:

June 6, 2001

Subject:

ELF, Paradigm Warrior, Terrorism, The Allergy Issue

 

AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org

Date: 6 Jun 2001 18:37:46 -0000
From: "Bob MacGregor"
To:
Subject: Re: ELF

The ELF folks say they don't want to see forest farms, but a large
portion of the cropland in the world was once forested. Why is it OK for
corn or wheat to be raised in monoculture and clearcut, but not trees?
Maybe the Elves should be out destroying corn and soybean fields, setting
the stage for a reversion to forest. If they are trying to attack GM
crops, they would be a lot less at risk of arrest, would "decontaminate"
more acreage, would make fewer mistakes (ie, destroying non-GM plants) and
would get extreme press coverage (!) if they went through the US midwest
and burned or mowed down every field with a sign indicating an RR or Bt
variety was planted.

I suspect they know that their demise would be the outcome of this
tactic, though, so we can expect them to continue their cowardly, covert
attacks on researchers.

BOB
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.vib.be/downloads/bioveiligheidseducatie/report.pdf

Safety of Genetically Engineered Crops (1.6MB)

Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology

http://www.vib.be/downloads/bioveiligheidseducatie/report.pdf
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.financialexpress.com/fe20010604/an1.html

The paradigm warrior in pursuit of environmental justice

Financial Express
Parul Malhotra

She's into redefining paradigms. Picketing the World Bank office in New
Delhi, educating tribal groups and farmers in rural India, lecturing
multinationals, are her preferred weapons. That?s Vandana Shiva, the
celebrated eco-feminist, for you. Author of eleven books, winner of the
prestigious Right Livelihood Award?or the ?alternative Nobel??and guest
speaker at numerous universities on issues such as eco-feminism,
agricultural ecology, biotechnology, intellectual property rights and
globalisation (she claims all of them fit neatly under the umbrella of
environmental justice) is no stranger to awards.

Which is probably why she takes the latest accolade?Asiaweek magazine has
recently ranked Ms Shiva as the fifth most powerful communicator in
Asia?in her stride.

?I have known for a long time that global corporations who are making
everyone run scared just now?from the World Trade Organisation, to our
premier and finance minister?run scared themselves when I sit across the
table and debate with them,? she says with a broad smile. Yet, she refuses
to take herself too seriously. ?Now how much that translates into any
other form of power, I have no idea?, she guffaws. But, after a pregnant
pause, she adds that her success as a communicator is a result of her deep
convictions: ?I don?t say, write or act upon anything unless I am deeply
convinced myself?.

Interestingly, this ?powerful communicator? is often accused of distorting
facts. Jairam Ramesh, member of the Congress party says, ?She?s so
scholarly and articulate, so of course she?s a good communicator. But
unfortunately, with her, any resemblance to facts is totally coincidental.
She?s been proven wrong many, many times. In fact, her misinformed
convictions make her dangerous?.

A senior member of the Bharatiya Janata Party concurs. The gentleman, who
had occasion to participate in a debate with her, was left ruing the
encounter as a complete waste of time. ?Her facts were just wrong. I spent
most of my time correcting them instead of debating with her?.

Fellow NGO activist Pradeep S Mehta of the Centre for International Trade,
Economics and Environment (CITEE), also wonders about her communication
abilities. ?Although she can communicate well, she?s been able to get
through to only those who remain in tight compartments. She?ll not be able
to convert those who are in the know. Moreover, she doesn?t like to enter
into a debate on a serious platform?.

A respected intellectual property expert, part of the Indian government?s
team on IPR issues, is also a bit sceptical. ?We had to dismiss two
petitions which she filed against the Indian government, alleging
bio-piracy by international companies, because her own statements were
found to be inconsistent?.
Critics question her credibility. Mr Mehta feels she?s too much of a
jetsetter and accuses her of hypocrisy. ?She talks about sustainable
agriculture, yet uses chemicals on her farm.? So does the BJP functionary.
?If she?s so anti-MNCs why does she go off to (the World Economic Forum
at) Davos, that ultimate rich club of the MNCs??

Others doubt her motives. ?She?s a lobbyist out to scuttle the economic
progress of India. Where does she get her funding from??, asks one.

Ask Ms Shiva about the violent feeling she inspires (her website was
recently hacked and linked to a pornographic site), and she returns matter
of factly: ?You have to treat both (love and hate) with equal detachment.
It?s the price you pay for the work you choose to do.?

Press on and she points out that her international work and subsequent
recognition are a logical progression of her work at home. ?From 1982-1985
I concentrated on local issues because by that time I?d already travelled
the world and been an international expert. But during that time I
realised that every one of the projects I was working on had been financed
by the World Bank. So in 1984-85 I started to study World Bank financing.
Then, when in 1985, I was asked to spearhead the Save the Rain Forest
campaign, (?I?d done all the studies on rain forests?), that was the start
of linking back internationally?.

Ask her why liberal, forward-looking Indians remain sceptical of her
activism and she tells you that it stems from an Indian trait: pulling
down someone who?s successful.?The West has a civilisational crisis.
They?ve recognised that they need to find an alternative. That?s why my
writings have struck a chord with them?.

Her various critics notwithstanding, Ms Shiva does have a substantial
following, within and without India. Which is probably why Asiaweek
believes an increasing number of governments, multilateral institutions
and global corporations are listening to her words of wisdom. But Rome
wasn?t built in a day and Ms Shiva, the paradigm warrior, was effectively
born 19 years ago, in 1982.

After finishing her PhD in Foundations of Quantum Theory in 1979, she
dabbled in science and taught science policy for a while. Then, in 1982,
she did a study on mining in the Doon valley for the ministry of
environment, a study which resulted in the first ever Supreme Court
judgment stopping economic activity on grounds of environmental
destruction. ?That study made me realise that there was an entry-vacuum of
an independent research system and so, the same year, I set up the
Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy?.

1982-1985 found Ms Shiva working on local issues: forest conservation in
the Himalayas, water issues, mining in the Doon valley, campaigns against
dams etc. By 1985, she had started to focus on agro-ecology. At the same
time, two of her books Violence of the Green Revolution (which arose from
her study on Conflict over Resources for the United Nations University)
and Staying Alive, became huge hits abroad, perhaps as a result of her
initial fame (remember ?Save the Rain Forests??).

By 1987 she had graduated to debunking globalisation and strongly opposing
intellectual property rights which she felt were tools used by MNCs to
perpetuate their monopolies. This latter was nicely timed, with the
Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations (1986-1993) under way
and, by 1995 when the World Trade Organisation came into existence, she
was firmly perched on the anti-globalisation bandwagon. Her latest
addition, to an already lengthy list of causes, is agricultural
biotechnology. ?Genetic modification of crops is manipulation of life,?
she declares with evident distaste.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Date: Jun 06 2001 16:55:53 EDT
From: "NLP Wessex"
Subject: Marker Assisted Breeding and UK Conservative Party

The application of modern marker assisted biotechnology techniques to
conventional plant breeding (see article below on latest developments in
relation to rice) does not involve releasing genetically engineered
organisms into the environment. It is now specifically supported by the
UK's Conservative Party as an alternative to the use of genetic
engineering as set out in its latest statement on agricultural
biotechnology released 5 June 2001. The statement includes the following
section in relation to marker assisted breeding, otherwise refered to as
'genomics':

"A positive approach to new technology: Those who advocate caution on GM
technology are often accused of Luddism. However the real Luddites are
those who speak as if genetic modification is the only technology capable
of delivering benefits to farmers and growers. This is far from the truth.
For instance, research into organic farming methods has resulted in
significant productivity improvements and the new science of ?genomics?
means that exciting breakthroughs in gene sequencing can be applied to
conventional plant breeding techniques. Conservatives will redirect public
spending away from GM crop trials and into the research and development of
high quality produce for which British consumers want to pay a fair price".

NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX
nlpwessex@bigfoot.com
www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.planetrice.net/newspub/newstory.cfm?id=910

Biotech: DNA Markers Streamline Texas Rice Breeding
Scientists use DNA markers for transfer of desired traits into improved
varieties

Planet Rice. net
by Kathleen Phillips

June 5, 2001

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS, USA--It's not cloning, and it's not genetic
modification. But researchers at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station
use biotechnology to diagnose desired traits in rice and assure that new
varieties have those components at the DNA level. So far the technology has
found the DNA markers for starch quality and for resistance to blast, a
fungal plant disease that takes its toll on rice yields throughout the U.S.
growing regions and much of the world.

"It's faster, cheaper and better to use this technology in breeding new
varieties," said Dr. Bill Park, Experiment Station biochemist and project
collaborator. "And it is being put to use in the field more quickly than
research findings often are."

Two new varieties, Cadet and Jacinto, already have been released and are
growing in Europe, noted Park, who worked with Dr. Anna M. McClung, head of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Rice
Research Unit at the Texas A&M University Center at Beaumont.

The technology comes at a good time for the rice industry, which is
struggling to remain viable.

In January, private companies announced that rice had been genetically
mapped--the first crop plant whose genome mapping was completed. With the
DNA sequence of every gene known, researchers now are trying to delve
further into the code to "mark" what each gene expresses in the plant.
That's where the work of Park's team plays a role.

The first marker they found regulates amylose, a component of starch.

"In rice, high amylose means that the grains are firm and separate, and low
starch means you can eat it with chopsticks because it sticks together,"
Park said.

A problem in breeding new varieties, he explained, is that the air
temperature while rice is growing influences the amount of amylose that the
plant produces. Standard methods for determining the amount of amylose
produced among different rice breeding lines can be misleading because the
amount produced is so sensitive to the field conditions where the rice is
grown.

Therefore, if a plant breeder crosses two varieties with the intention of
getting high amylose, but temperatures are unusually cold or hot during the
growing season, the breeder would not know if the rice line's amylose level
was due to genetics, or to the weather.

Park compared it to eating a cheeseburger before getting a cholesterol
check--a person would not know whether a high cholesterol reading really
indicates high cholesterol, or merely reflects that day's diet.

By diagnosing rice in breeding programs with DNA markers, however,
scientists can accurately decide whether to keep working with progeny from
a
cross, or to cease selection. "Breeders don't have to worry about unusual
weather giving false reads on a potentially good variety," Park explained.

With the findings on amylose verified, the team tackled another problem for
the rice industry--blast disease.

Breeders try to breed resistance into rice varieties, using resistance
genes
that are available in the rice gene pool, so that farmers apply less
pesticide to protect their yields. That decreases production costs and
helps
protect the environment. Because this fungus is continually evolving, new
genes for resistance need to constantly be added to new varieties to
maintain the resistance.

Thus, breeding programs put tremendous effort in evaluating breeding lines
for resistance to this pathogen.

Connie Bormans, a biochemistry doctoral student on Park's team, said a
major
problem with stacking multiple genes for blast resistance is that some tend
to "mask" others. In other words, researchers want multiple layers of
resistance--but with traditional methods, they can't tell if there is one
layer or multiple layers of resistance. That is where DNA markers come in.

"Breeders tend to use very similar strains of rice plants as parents for
new
crosses in trying to create better varieties," Bormans said. "Because the
rice plants are closely related, that makes it hard to find the differences
in DNA."

Bormans' 6-year effort has found markers for four major blast genes,
however, and all have been put to work in the rice breeding program at
Beaumont. The lab annually screens about 3,000 rice strains for blast
resistance for U.S. breeding programs, according to USDA-ARS.

In June, the team plans to host a workshop to show other public breeding
programs how to use these markers to augment conventional breeding
programs.

"It is a system that actually works in the real world," Park added.

The team is proud not only of the findings, but also of the collaboration
that took the work from College Station to Beaumont, then into the field in
a relatively short time. Park said the DNA diagnostics can shave as much as
half the time off of the breeding process; they allow development of a new
variety in 5 to 7 years vs. 10 years in traditional breeding program.

The team and others plan to use the marker-assisted technology to help find
resistance to other serious rice diseases, and to improve milling quality,
plant height, and other quality traits for specialty rices.

Contact: Dr. Bill Park, (979) 845-8868, wdpark@tamu.edu
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Terrorism Could Divert Research Money To Security

Gannet News Service
June 5, 2001

WASHINGTON -- Several scientists said Tuesday that bombings and other
violent acts by extremists opposed to biotechnology research could force
universities to pump more money into security, leaving less for research.

Catherine Ives, director of Michigan State University's Agricultural
Biotechnology Support Project, estimated that her institution spent nearly
$1 million to improve security and rebuild the fourth floor of Agriculture
Hall after arson destroyed her office in January 2000. Ives, University
of Washington professor Toby Bradshaw and Oregon State University
professor Steve Strauss told reporters in an hour- long teleconference
briefing that eco-terrorism may force public universities and their
researchers to balance the costs of security and the costs of scientific
study.

Bradshaw, whose office was destroyed when vandals torched the university's
research center last month, conducts research on genetically engineered
poplar trees. Strauss, who also does research on poplar trees, had 900
trees in three field sites attacked in March.

The three researchers said they were most concerned that there has not
been more public outcry over the scattered reports of lab fire bombings
and destruction of field test crops because people see no connection
between the research and their lives.

On Capitol Hill, eco-terrorism has been the topic of occasional hearings
but it has not been a high-profile issue.

"I think scientists have not done a good job in talking about what they do
and the benefits of what they do," Ives said in a teleconference call with
reporters. Washington Friends of Farms and Forests and Oregonians for
Farms and Forests, coalitions of Pacific Northwest timber, agribusiness
and chemical companies, sponsored the telephone news conference.

Ives, Bradshaw and Strauss all work on projects funded by private industry
and federal agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International
Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental
Protection Agency.

To Ives, the value of using technology to genetically increase food crop
yields or make plants more resistant to disease or pests is self-evident.

But some groups believe biotechnology is a threat to the environment and
to human health. Biotechnology faces nonviolent opposition from a variety
of groups who want greater federal oversight of research and labeling of
genetically modified foods.

More violent opposition has come from groups like the loosely knit Earth
Liberation Front, which claimed responsibility for the attacks on Ives'
and Bradshaw's offices. No arrests have been made in their cases.

Ives, Bradshaw and Strauss said the attacks did not stop their work since
most or all of their research data survived in locations away from their
research areas.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Genetic Engineering and the Allergy Issue

- Bob B.İBuchanan, Member of the National Academy of Sciences

Plant Physiol, May 2001, Vol. 126, pp. 5-7 (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
http://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/content/full/126/1/5

INTRODUCTION

Although much has been learned since the field was put on a scientific
basis at the turn of the last century, our knowledge of food allergies is
far from complete. It is still unclear, for example, why only certain
individuals are affected and why, even among them, the problem is often
restricted to childhood. It is also not clear why the allergies caused by
various nuts and aquatic animals tend to persist and be lifelong. Milk,
egg, soy, and wheat are the major food allergies in children, whereas
peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish are most prevalent in adults.

The field is complicated by the fact that many more people believe they
suffer from food allergies than is actually the case. Thus, although up to
20% of Americans have a perceived food allergy, the problem can be
medically diagnosed in only about 2% of the population (Altman and
Chiaramonte, 1996). The issue is further clouded by confusion with food
intolerance and by evidence that allergies are increasing rapidly in
developed countries for reasons that are only beginning to be understood.

These factors collectively contribute to the lack of understanding that
has long been a part of the food allergy field.

Aside from limited attention drawn to the increased prevalence, food
allergy has historically attracted little notice. However, with the
advent of genetic engineering and its application to the production of
food, the situation has changed dramatically. The development and
commercialization of a variety of food crops with transgenes has thrust
the allergy issue onto a public stage and given the field unprecedented
exposure worldwide.

Although not yet apparent, I believe the allergy and food technology
fields will benefit from this attention in the long term, akin to the
progress made in understanding the cellular immune system as a result
of publicity brought by the acquired immune deficiency syndrome epidemic.

WHY THE SUDDEN INTEREST?

The increased public awareness of food allergy has arisen from a
combination of three factors: reasoned concern, fear through ignorance,
and political motivation. The first two factors are expected and limited
in scope. The third, which was unanticipated and amplifies the second,
stems from the goal of certain individuals and environmental organizations
to delay the commercial development of genetic engineering, especially as
applied to food. The allergy issue was selected because of its
vulnerability: In addition to its enigmatic nature mentioned previously,
opponents of genetic engineering recognized early on that it is difficult
to determine with absolute certainty whether a protein introduced into a
food by genetic engineering is a potential allergen. In retrospect, one
wonders why the allergy issue was not raised earlier for example, in
the countless plant breeding programs since World War II that
significantly have not converted nonallergenic into allergenic foods. A
new allergen has been introduced independently of plant breeding. The
introduction of kiwi, a relatively obscure fruit, led to the development
of a new allergy in the general population of the developed world.

Interest in the allergy issue has been heightened by knowledge that a
protein known to be an allergen in one species remains an allergen when
transferred by genetic transformation to a second species. An example of
such a protein, now widely known, is the Brazil nut allergen (2S protein)
transferred to soybean. The allergenicity associated with the original 2S
protein in Brazil nut was found to be retained after it was over-expressed
in soybean (Nordlee et al., 1996). Although not surprising, this example
is reassuring in documenting that the scientific community is capable of
detecting and identifying a known allergen that has been transferred from
one species to another by genetic engineering. As a result of the allergy
tests, the transgenic soy product in question was not further developed as
a commercial product.

In this commentary, I shall identify the issues surrounding the allergy
issue and discuss their scientific validity, rather than the production of
hypoallergenic foods by genetic engineering, a research focus of a number
of laboratories, including ours. I then turn to a discussion of the tools
available to address the concerns and where we are in their resolution.
It will be seen that a solution to this problem appears to lie on the near
horizon.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Concern about the genetic modification of food appears to stem from
three questions: Is the protein of interest an allergen? Has the protein
of interest become an allergen as a result of the transformation and
selection process? Has the transformation and selection process in some
unknown way altered a normal cellular protein so that it has become an
allergen?

SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR THE CONCERNS

The first question, whether a particular protein is an allergen, is
valid and should be answered. The second question, based on the conversion
of the protein of interest into an allergen (for example, by
glycosylation) also relates to a change that is biochemically feasible.
One would think that indications of such a change would have surfaced with
significantly abundant proteins in earlier plant breeding programs.
Nonetheless, thispoint should be tested, at least until we have a greater
understanding of the fate of transgenic proteins in plants. The last
question, which raises the possibility that a given protein of the cell
could become an allergen as a result of transformation and selection, is
less tenable. However, this question, like the other two, will continue to
be raised until
additional experience has been gained and consumers have expressed
confidence in genetically modified foods, especially those based on a
protein to which the human population has not been previously exposed.

CURRENT TOOLS FOR SOLVING THE PROBLEM

The question of whether a transgene product is an allergen or whether
its presence unintentionally renders a food product more allergenic than
its nonengineered counterpart is addressed in several ways, including:
(a)comparing the predicted amino acid sequence of the transgene product
with that of known food allergens; (b) determining the abundance of the
protein in food as significant food allergens typically represent one
percent or more of the total protein; (c) examining the expressed protein
for characteristics often associated with known food allergens, such as
glycosylation, heat stability, and presence of disulfide bonds; and (d)
monitoring the digestibility of the transgene product in simulated
mammalian gastric and intestinal fluids.

Although numerous nonallergens show one or more of the properties often
associated with allergens, each analysis provides indirect evidence that
is of some predictive value. Moreover, the tests to determine these
properties were included in a decision tree that was proposed by Metcalfe
et al. (1996). As far as I know, the protocol suggested in that tree has
been closely followed in the industrial development of transgenic food
products. However, as a result of recent problems in introducing new
transgenic foods, it has become clear that an additional test is
needed,namely an animal model for testing genetically modified products.

An animal model is needed to provide a direct test of the allergenic
properties for proteins showing potential evidence of allergenicity.
Such tests cannot be done on humans directly, ethical considerations
aside. Present populations have not been exposed to the engineered food in
question and, as a result, would not show an adverse reaction, even if the
food contained an allergen. In developing the decision tree, Metcalfe
etal. (1996) pointed out the desirability of including an animal model,
but did not do so because none "have been shown to predict the allergic
potential of introduced proteins." Animal models were also a major topic
of discussion at a recent conference dedicated to allergy issues,
"Assessment of the Potential Allergenicity of Genetically Engineered
Foods" held December 5İand 6,İ2000,İat the National Center for Food Safety
and Technology (Summit-Argo, IL). The advantages and disadvantages of each
model were considered at the meeting: Brown Norway rat, guinea pig, dog,
pig, and various mouse models. To be beneficial, it was considered that an
animal model should: (a) show an allergic response to allergens in humans,
but not to nonallergens; (b) show an allergen profile similar to that of
humansfor example, the response to a strong allergen(peanut)İ>İmoderate
allergen (milk)İ>İa nonallergen (spinach leaf); (c) have a
gastrointestinal system similar to humans; and (d) ideally, show an
epitope response similar to humans. This latter feature was considered a
desirable but not a mandatory feature in view of the wide range of
epitopes that humans can recognize.

The advantages, disadvantages, and current status of each model were
discussed in Summit-Argo. It was agreed that, although decisive
progress has been made, none of the current models meets these criteria
because characterization and testing is still ongoing. Therefore, at this
point it is not clear which of the models will prove to be of most value
in detecting and assessing food allergens.

I am personally prone to the dog because, perhaps as a reflection of
having a gastrointestinal system similar to humans (Strombeck and
Guilford, 1990), it is unique among animal models in having natural
allergies as far as is known. The dog shows clinical symptoms typical
of food allergy in humans, i.e. vomit and diarrhea (Ermel et al., 1997;
del Val et al., 1999). Advances made using the dog will, therefore,
benefit dogs as well as humans because of similarities in their allergic
response.

In recognition of these features, our laboratory started a project to
determine the suitability of the dog as a predictor of allergens in
humans in collaboration with Dr. Oscar L.İFrick (University of California,
San Francisco) and Drs. Laura Privalle and Greg del Val (Syngenta,
Research Triangle Park, NC). Initiated 3İyears ago, this study is now
entering its final stage and is yielding encouraging results. The results,
which will be published when the study is complete, suggest that the dog
will be useful as an animal model. That point withstanding, the other
models mentioned above warrant continued study, because, in the end, each
of several could present a particular advantage in detecting and
characterizing allergens in humans.

One precautionary note seems in order. While proceeding with allergy
testing, we must be careful not to overregulate and impose undue
restrictions to stifle innovation. Rather, we should seek to formulate a
balanced policy that insures food safety without hindering product
development.

CLOSING COMMENTS

Great strides have been made in our understanding of food allergy since
the problem was originally recognized by Hippocrates almost
2.5İmillennia ago. Despite this rich history, large gaps remain in our
knowledge and they are of such nature as to lend an element of mystery to
the field. These features have led certain individuals and environmental
groups to target food allergy in an effort to slow the commercial
development of genetically modified crops and foods and, at the same time,
utilize the issue as a fund-raising mechanism. Their efforts have been
successful not only by having the intended effect, but also by negatively
influencing science funding, especially in Europe. The net result has been
that the participating organizations have experienced financial gain and
genetically modified crops derived from research in developed countries
are now being grown disproportionately in the developing world. For
example, between 1999İand 2000,İthe area used for growing transgenic
crops increased by 2% in industrial countries, whereas the area in
developing counterparts, although still relatively small in total
hectares, grew by 51% (James, 2000). The long-term economic effect of the
shift in emphasis to developing countries could significantly impact
research on transgenic crops in developed countries unless the situation
changes. Such an impact on research would eventually adversely affect
hunger and nutrition worldwide because, as recently pointed out in this
series (e.g. Borlaug, 2000), continued progress in the genetic engineering
of crops is critical to feeding future world populations.

I believe, however, the problem to be transitory and that, once
appropriate allergen testing capability is in place, health concerns
will abate and the development of transgenic foods will continue apace. As
seen above, the needs to bring about this change are not extensive. What
seems to be most lacking at this stage is an animal model to identify
transgenic plant proteins that either are, or have become, allergens in
humans. Such a model is especially important for proteins to which humans
have not been exposed. Had a reliable model been available, it is likely
that StarLink corn could have avoided current problems (for example, see
Barboza, 2000). Animal test data would have been available to allay
consumer concern once the product was on the market. I am confident that,
with progress now being made, one or more animal models will soon be
available to serve as a
reliable indicator of allergens in human and that a safe but reasonable
testing policy will be formulated. Once such testing capability is in
hand, the public will respond in a positive manner. In the long term, the
food allergy and technology fields will likely benefit, rather than
suffer, from this pause in their development.

LITERATURE CITED

* Altman DR, Chiaramonte LT (1996) Public perception of food allergy. J
Allerg Clin Immunol 97: 1247-1251
* Barboza D.İDecember 4,İ2000.İNegligence suit is filed over altered
corn. New York Times; Sect C:2
* Borlaug NE (2000) Ending world hunger: the promise of biotechnology
and the threat of antiscience zealotry. Plant Physiol 124: 487-490
* del Val G, Yee BC, Lozano RM, Buchanan BB, Ermel RW, Lee YM, Frick OL
(1999) Thioredoxin treatment increases digestibility and lowers
allergenicity of milk. J Allerg Clin Immunol 103: 690-697
* Ermel RW, Kock M, Griffey SM, Reinhart GA, Frick OL (1997) The atopic
dog: a model for food allergy. Lab Anim Sci 47: 40-49
* James C (2000) Global review of commercialized transgenic crops:
2000.İThe International Service for the Acquisitiion of Agri-biotech
Applications, no. 21.İhttp://www.isaaa.org/publications/briefs/Brief_17.htm
* Metcalfe DD, Astwood JD, Townsend R, Sampson HA, Taylor SL, Fuchs RL
(1996) Assessment of the allergenic potential of foods derived from
genetically engineered crop plants. Crit Rev Food Sci Nut Suppl 36:
S165-S186
* Nordlee JA, Taylor SL, Townsend JA, Thomas LA, Bush RK (1996)
Identification of a Brazil-nut allergen in transgenic soybeans. N Engl J
Med 334: 688-692[Medline]
* Strombeck DR, Guilford WG (1990) Small Animal Gastroenterology, Ed 2.
Stonegate Publishing Co., Davis, CA, pp 346-355

----
Bob B. Buchanan
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California,
111 Koshland Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720
© 2001 American Society of PlantPhysiologists