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Date:

October 23, 2001

Subject:

U.S. Wins Asian Approval; NZ OK with APEC; Facing Lawsuits

 

Today's Topics in AgBioView.

* U.S. Wins Asian Approval for Agricultural Biotechnology
* APEC Line On GM 'Way For NZ To Go'
* Chimpanzees and Bt
* Avoiding GMOs May Increase Legal Risks
* How Biotech Can Engineer Corn Contraceptives, Edible Vaccines
* Bt or not Bt: Is That The Question?
* Discoveries Could Help Block Anthrax: Drugs To Neutralize Deadly Toxin
* Biofortified Crops May Help Battle AIDS
* We'll Feed Our People As We See Fit

U.S. Wins Asian Approval for Agricultural Biotechnology

October 22, 2001 (ENS) (Posted by to Biotech Activists )

Shanghai, China: Heads of government meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Sunday endorsed a proposal by the United States to establish a new high level policy dialogue on biotechnology. The APEC leaders are expected to "exchange views and pursue cooperative activities on a wide range of issues relating to biotechnology development, regulations governing new products, implications for trade, and effective communications strategies." APEC officials plan to hold the first session of the biotechnology dialogue in Mexico City in February 2002. A statement issued by the White House says, "Biotechnology can help developing economies increase crop yields, while using fewer pesticides and less water than conventional methods."

The United States believes that the high-level policy dialogue will help officials "harness this new technology and capitalize on its benefits." The dialogue will also facilitate the discussion of those issues in other international arenas. The U.S. position supports the U.S. based multi-national biotechnology corporations and that goes against the grain for pure foods campaigners who believe that transgenic foods could be harmful to public health and the environment.

Ronnie Cummins, of the Organic Consumers Association, a U.S. based pure foods advocacy group says, "Life science corporations proclaim, with great fanfare, that their new products will make agriculture sustainable, eliminate world hunger, cure disease, and vastly improve public health. In reality, through their business practices and political lobbying, the gene engineers have made it clear that they intend to use genetic engineering to dominate and monopolize the global market for seeds, foods, fiber, and medical products."

Most APEC nations are developing domestic regulatory, trade, and scientific policies to address the emerging field of agricultural biotechnology. The White House says the high-level dialogue will allow policy.. [there is a gap in the original story here] The APEC Leaders' Declaration calls for more capacity building activities to help member economies develop agricultural biotechnology. The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush is already enhancing technical assistance to support U.S. trade in transgenic crops through a number of public and private sector programs. A joint project by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. and Chinese universities is underway to establish "centers of excellence" in China to further capacity building and information exchange on "best agricultural practices," the White House said.

There are programs to develop disease-resistant crops, such as the U.S.-Mexico project on genetic patterns of wheat viruses, which aims to improve wheat resistance to infection. There are programs to develop crops with enhanced nutritional value, such as a multi-nation project to develop staple crop varieties to address malnutrition. A public-private sector cooperative exchange program on food research is in the works focusing on developments in agricultural biotechnology. An initial program, funded by the U.S. Trade Development Agency and the private sector, is being organized by the Danforth Research Center in St. Louis, Missouri, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, and the U.S. National Center for APEC.

An exchange program for food safety and a public-private dialogue on biotechnology regulation is ongoing. It is supported by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, with the assistance of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and the U.S. National Center for APEC. This project will help build capacity in the region to formulate "sound, science-based regulatory policies, in areas such as phytosanitary regulations, risk assessment, and testing and certification requirements, that will ensure the environmental and food safety of all food products," the White House says.

Meanwhile, in Rome, governments will meet beginning October 25 to formulate a legally binding treaty that scientists believe is a prerequisite for future agricultural development. Known as the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, it will lay down the rules for the scientific exchange of crop germplasm - the genetic material needed to adapt crops to global warming, and to counter new pests and diseases. Europe, for years the scene of consumer protests against transgenic crops, may be moving towards lifting its moratorium on testing genetically engineered foods. In September, the European Commission has made its strongest call yet for the ban on new genetically engineered crop approvals to be dropped as it prepares to restart the authorization process. The European Union regulatory committee that decides whether to grant market licenses for new transgenic crops will be convened before the end of the year and asked to approve a host of applications.

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APEC Line On GM 'Way For NZ To Go'

- Audrey Young and Anne Beston, New Zealand Herald, 23 Oct 2001

New Zealand farmers yesterday jumped on the APEC leaders' endorsement of biotechnology as further reason for the Government to adopt a pro-GM policy.

Federated Farmers president Alistair Polson said the Apec leaders' reference to recognising the benefits of biotechnology was "a sensible conclusion". The farmers are part of a move this week to present Prime Minister Helen Clark with an eminent persons' communique endorsing the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Genetic Modification (GM) findings. The leaders' declaration at the Shanghai Apec summit included the following: "Recognising the benefits of biotechnology in improving productivity, increasing nutrition and reducing the environmental impact of agricultural production, we reaffirm the importance of safe introduction and use of biotechnology products based on sound science."

"It's exactly where the commission sat, and where New Zealand should sit," Mr Polson said. "People around the world are taking a similar approach. It's not a whole-hearted, embracing-without-care approach. It's safe introduction, case by case."

The Labour-Alliance Government is due to respond to the commission's findings in the next week or so and is negotiating with the Greens on such issues as whether to pass a law extending the voluntary moratorium on field trials beyond October 31. It is believed that fresh applications for field trials are ready to be submitted to the Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) on November 1.

The Green Party has threatened to withdraw its support for the minority Government if the outcome is too liberal for its liking. It wants all GM research kept to the laboratory. Mr Polson said members of Federated Farmers were countering the Greens' pressure. Members wrote 4200 letters to MPs last week in their campaign to have the commission's findings accepted.

Federated Farmers also backed the eminent persons' communique, signed by notables including cook and author Alison Holst, and a string of knights: Sir Dryden Spring, Sir Gil Simpson, Sir John Scott, Sir Roderick Weir, Sir Ron Trotter, Sir Roy McKenzie, Sir Tipene O'Regan and Sir Wilson Whineray. The communique urges the Government to "adopt the central conclusion of the royal commission, that we should preserve our opportunities to use these technologies as part of the blueprint to lift living standards for all New Zealanders through a knowledge-based economy.

"Further, we consider that the recommendations in the report reflect prudent and careful case-by-case assessment of the opportunities and risks of GM technology for New Zealand." Meanwhile, events of the past week have forced National to modify its position. Last week it said it would back any moves in Parliament required to implement the commission's findings.

But that was before it looked like being defined as a confidence issue - by first the Greens, and then Acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton. National leader Bill English said yesterday that the party would not support any GM-related parliamentary vote if it were a confidence issue. "We are not there to prop up the Government." Mr English said extending the moratorium, even by just a year, would be seen as "fudging the issue until after the election". Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said there would be no backing down on GM.

Suggestions were made over the weekend that Green Party members were worried their MPs would soften. But Ms Fitzsimons was adamant that would not happen. The party as a whole wanted GM experiments confined to the laboratory, she said. Yesterday, 35 doctors signed a letter opposing GM and sent it to the Herald. The letter urges the Government to impose a two-year ban on GM field trials, saying there is no convincing evidence that GM crops benefit consumers or farmers.

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Chimpanzees and Bt

From: Burtensley@aol.com

Please note that the sequence homology between humans and chimpanzees is 98.5%.
I haven't looked into the sequence homology between BT and anthrax, but I will bet it's on the same order.

So are the people claiming that BT and anthrax as the same organism are really chimpanzees in disguise?

- Burt Ensley, Ph.D.

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Avoiding GMOs May Increase Legal Risks

- Professor Drew L. Kershen, Foodtechnology, October 2001, 55 (10)

(Thanks to "Robert Zeigler" for the alert on this)

Many food companies may be thinking of avoiding transgenic crops in their food or feed supplies. Yet, the strategy of avoiding agricultural biotechnology also carries risks. These risks must be carefully considered so that food companies make decisions with a full appreciation of relevant considerations.

The Risk of Product Liability: Companies that avoid agricultural biotechnology may unintentionally increase the health risk for consumers. Studies by Dr. P. F. Dowd of the United States Department of Agriculture and by Dr. G. P. Munkvold of Iowa State University show that crops from agricultural biotechnology have the potential to reduce or eliminate mycotoxins in the food supply. Mycotoxins can cause various cancers.

Let us now assume a worst case scenario. A consumer gets a cancer that the consumer believes was caused by mycotoxins in the food product. On the consumer’s behalf, the lawyer for the consumer will allege strict product liability based on contamination (mycotoxins). This contamination claim is a manufacturing defect claim in product liability law because the food departs from its intended product specifications.

In addition — and this is the under-appreciated, important point — the product liability consumer’s lawyer also will allege a design defect in the food because the company knew of a food designed with less risky ingredients (an FDA-approved agricultural biotechnology crop) and purposefully chose to use the riskier design. If the company attempts to answer this design defect claim by saying that it was responding to consumer demand, the company encounters Comment g (risk-utility balancing) to the RESTATEMENT OF LAW, THIRD, TORTS: PRODUCTS LIABILITY (1998) which blocks this defense.

The company may also attempt to respond to this design defect claim by arguing that if the non-GMO food is found not reasonably safe, consumers are denied consumer choice. However, the consumer’s liability lawyer adds an additional claim for failure to provide an adequate label. The company could have labeled its non-GMO food as follows: “This product does not contain genetically modified ingredients. Consequently, this product has very slight additional risk of mycotoxin contamination. Mycotoxins can cause serious diseases such as liver or esophageal cancer.” The label would provide consumers with information relevant to their choice of food products.

The Risk of Personal Injury Liability: Under pressure from fast food companies, potato buyers have imposed non-GMO variety requirements upon potato growers in their contracts. By so doing, the potato processors are putting themselves at legal risk of being held accountable for their growers’ personal injury liability.

Potatoes are a booming crop primarily due to the consumption of french fries at fast-food restaurants. However, growing potatoes is not easy because potatoes are attractive to Colorado potato beetles, aphid-spread viruses, and potato blight. To combat these problems, potato growers use an assortment of fungicides, insecticides, and fumigants. As a specific example, growers used methamidophos. While methamidophos is an EPA-approved pesticide, methamidophos must be used carefully because it is toxic.

Monsanto developed a potato containing a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene to control the Colorado potato beetle combined with another transplanted gene to control the virus spread by the aphids. In effect, Monsanto created a potato inoculated by a vaccine that protected its potato – called NewLeaf® – from these two scourges to potato growers. Potato growers who planted NewLeaf® reduced their use of chemical controls, increased their yield, and became convinced from 1994 through 1999 that transgenic potatoes were the best (environmentally and economically) way to farm potatoes.

Now lets us assume that a farmer, required by contract to plant non-GMO potatoes, sprays his crop with methamidophos. The pesticide drifts into a stream and over workers. Fish die; workers report to the emergency room of a hospital. When the farmer is sued by the environmental agency for the fish kill and by a lawyer representing the workers, the farmer’s lawyer will join the potato buyer and the fast food companies on a cross-claim stating that the farmer was required to use a more dangerous technology by contract. Consequently, the farmer will argue that the potato buyer and the fast food companies should be jointly and severally liable for the damages to the environment and to worker health.

The Risk of Scientific Ignorance: By the risk of scientific ignorance, the author means the refusal to pay attention to an overwhelming scientific consensus. Seven academies of science issued a report in the summer 2000 expressing the overwhelming scientific consensus that agricultural biotechnology is safe and can produce quality food products needed to feed the people of the world. Three governmental commissions -- the New Zealand Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, the United Nations Development Program, the Intergovernmental Task Force on Biotechnology of the Government of Ireland – have reached similar conclusions about the scientific consensus concerning agricultural biotechnology.

Food companies deciding to avoid agricultural biotechnology are adopting scientific ignorance and are simultaneously making two decisions. Food companies are deciding to forgo food science research and development that can significantly advance health and welfare of consumers. Food companies must get ready to purge a significant number of their products presently sold to consumers.

Conclusion: Food companies should not respond to food scares about genetically enhanced crops by hurriedly banning agricultural biotechnology crops from their food ingredients. Food companies that do so are placing themselves at significant risk legally and socially. Food companies should respond to food scares with consumer education and consumer reassurance. Anything other than information and calm leadership does a disservice to the consuming public, the company, and to the society in which they exist.
---
Drew L. Kershen is the Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. This piece is taken from an article published in the Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 53, pp. 631-652 (Winter 2000). The full article is also on the American Soybean Association website in the Biotechnology sector, available at http://www.soygrowers.com.

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How Biotech Can Engineer Corn Contraceptives, Edible Vaccines

- Gurumurthy Natarajan , Economic Times (India), Oct 24 2001

Biotechnology researchers may yet enter unchartered realms of reality turning biologists’ flights of fantasy to matters of now and here, while daring visionaries to dream, defying imagination to transcend barriers of time, space and substance.

In the pipeline are bacteria that detect land mines, spider silk made from goat’s milk, fish that sniff out pollutants and, lo and behold, swaying fields of corn that may one day assist in arresting the uncontrolled population explosion among humans. Looking down the road at what is in store from this powerful technology, one never ceases to admire the myriad of novel traits and the innumerable benefits that they can bestow upon this planet, all calculated to enhance the quality of life without a wee bit compromising on biosafety or sustainability of the environment.

Spider silk is one of the strongest natural materials known to man that can be used in the sewing of a bullet-proof vest but cannot be grown in sufficient quantity to make it commercially viable. Scientists have now cracked the code by using a protein from goat’s milk spliced with a spider gene and soon the ones that need such additional protection may be able to do so without the extra weight about their rib cage.

To the rice plant has already been engineered two genes from the daffodil and a bacteria that enables the single most favourite source of energy and nutrition among more than one half of the global population to produce beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, otherwise not present in the native plant. This single technological innovation would help benefit at least 400 million of the world’s population that suffer from vitamin A deficiency. It would also save more than half a million children that go blind each year and are at increased risk of diarrhoea and respiratory diseases also due to Vitamin A deficiency.

Likewise the introduction of the ferritin gene from soya to rice has helped the rice plant produce grains with up to three times the iron content more than the non-transformed control. According to an FAO study, over two billion of the world’s population is iron-deficient with consequent impairment of intellectual performance and work skills besides increased susceptibility to infections and lead poisoning.

Explosives as TNT used in land mines can now be detected by genetically modified bacteria that begin to glow when exposed to this deadly explosive, thanks to the insertion of a gene from a jelly fish, thus saving thousands of innocents that get killed or maimed when they walk along unsuspecting fields, marauded by modern day terrorists. Zebra fish have, likewise, been modified to act as biosensors for water-borne pollutants as PCBs and dioxins that diminish aquatic flora and fauna. Banana, potato and cassava can now carry edible vaccines, obviating the need for costly vaccinations against deadly diseases as cholera, small pox and hepatitis besides saving millions of our population from getting secondary infections from improper sterilisation of needles that are used to provide these vaccinations.

Additional advantages accrue from lower cost of administering these vaccines by obviating the need for the cold chain, so essential to preserve its integrity but a serious infrastructure nightmare in developing countries where such interventions are needed the most. Malaria-resistant mosquitoes and other insects are being looked upon as potential biocontrols of insect diseases in plants without having to resort to the use of polluting chemicals.

By far the most interesting of these developments in the brave new world of science is the one involving the corn plant in which scientists of San-Diego based biotech company Epicyte have discovered a rare class of human antibodies that attack the sperm. Genes that regulate the manufacture of these antibodies have been engineered into corn plants that now produce this contraceptive, all naturally! The company has also created a corn plant that makes antibodies against the herpes virus.

A plant- based jelly that not only prevents unwanted pregnancy but also protects against herpes, a sexually transmitted disease, can now be stacked in a corn plant. Contraceptive corn borrows from immune infertility, a rare condition, where a woman makes antibodies that attack the sperm. The antibodies simply latch on to surface receptors on the sperm, rendering them heavier and less motile and incapable of fertilising the egg. The company will launch clinical trials in a few months.

Such are the treats waiting to be discovered from the treasure-trove of modern biotechnology. Science and technology deserve a chance to be harnessed for the beneficial uses of mankind without the dubious distractions of doomsday predictions and misinformation campaigns from vested interests.

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Bt or not Bt: Is That The Question?

- J. Mark Scriber* Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, October 23, 2001; Vol 98, Issue 22, 12328-12330 *Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48864; http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.241503398
(Source: Agnet: Douglas A Powell )

Recent public concerns over the transgenic (genetically modified) plants and nontarget impacts such as those from Bt-toxin expressing corn pollen on the monarch butterfly populations have escalated, despite good pest management intentions and good science (1-9). Plant resistance to insect pests has evolved naturally over many millions of years and involves (i) both constitutive and inducible phytochemical and morphological mechanisms in plants, (ii) counteradaptations to plant defenses by the herbivores, and (iii) biotic interactions of the multitrophic level communities of insect pathogens, parasites, and predators (10-13).

The outcomes of such complex biotic interactions are sometimes determined by local mosaics of abiotic environmental conditions or regional climate changes that directly influence the component participants and their behavioral, physiological, and genetic adaptations (14-16). The intentional selection and breeding of insect and/or pathogen-resistant plant genotypes such as corn (Zea mays) has resulted in slow, but steady, progress against stalk-boring larvae such as the European corn borer and other such species, and host plant resistance in general has significantly reduced the need for broad-spectrum insecticides across agroecosystems and forests (17, 18).s

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Discoveries Could Help Block Anthrax
Two New Studies May Lead To Drugs To Neutralize Deadly Toxin

AP, http://msnbc.com/news/646612.asp

Oct. 23 — Two new findings may someday help doctors deal a one-two punch against inhaled anthrax, targeting not only anthrax bacteria with antibiotics but also blocking the poison those bacteria pump out. IT’S THE toxin that kills, and by the time a person shows symptoms of inhaled anthrax, antibiotics become less effective because they don’t deal with the toxin already produced by the germs.

The new work, announced Tuesday, may help scientists find ways to neutralize that toxin. Any new medicines, though, would be years away. In one study, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard Medical School said they had discovered the receptor on the surface of human cells that the first part of the anthrax toxin attaches to, allowing the rest of the toxin to enter. In the other, researchers at The Burnham Institute in La Jolla, Calif., Harvard and elsewhere said they have determined the structure of another part of the toxin, the protein that does the dirty work, a discovery that aids in the search for substances to block it.The findings, which follow other recent advances toward countering the toxin, were published online by the journal Nature on Tuesday and printed in its Nov. 8 issue. ....

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Biofortified Crops May Help Battle AIDS

- AgJournal October 22, 2001 (Source: Agnet)

Agricultural researchers in developing countries are working to increase the nutrient content of several basic food crops to help boost the body's immune system, a concept known as biofortification. The release of new maize varieties that deliver more protein should help people at risk to fight off HIV infection. To reduce the transmission of the virus from mother to child, efforts are also being made to popularize protein-rich crops such as soybean and new varieties of high-vitamin A sweet potatoes. The absence of sufficient vitamin A in the diets of pregnant women and lactating mothers is believed to contribute to HIV transmission from mother to child.

The biggest challenge, however, will be to halt the overall decline in food production in sub-Saharan Africa. A network of 16 food and environmental research centers, known as the Future Harvest Centers, is currently working to develop a common, integrated response to promote learning between regions and localities, to prevent catastrophes by raising awareness in areas new to the AIDS epidemic, and to raise funds needed to address the issues of AIDS and agriculture. The new initiative will be facilitated by the West African Rice Development Association in Côte d'Ivoire and will bring together scientists and researchers from each of the Future Harvest centers, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and other leading development agencies. Future Harvest Centers are supported by 58 governments, private foundations, and international and regional organizations known as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Spokespersons for the centers include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug and 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. AIDS affects all regions of the world, but is at its worst in sub-Saharan Africa where 80 percent of all AIDS-related deaths have taken place. Of the nearly 14 million Africans who have died from the disease, more than 60 percent lived in rural areas and were engaged in agriculture. According to FAO estimates, AIDS has killed some 7 million of Africa's agricultural workers and could result in 16 million more deaths by 2020. At current rates of infection, nearly a quarter of African agricultural workers could be sick or dead from AIDS-related cause within 20 years.

"HIV/AIDS is no longer just a health issue," says Marcela Villarreal, FAO's focal-point person for HIV/AIDS. "It is having a devastating effect on food security and rural development. Agricultural labor is being lost at a rapid rate, and mechanisms for transmitting knowledge and know-how are being undermined." Thousands of farm families afflicted by the AIDS virus have stopped planting traditional food crops, which are high in protein and nutrients, replacing them with less nutritious root crops that are easier to produce. To make ends meet, many families are simply selling off livestock, including draft animals used to prepare land for planting. The practice, known as "capital stripping," is normally seen only in times of famine. Thousands of farm households in Africa are now headed by surviving teenagers, who have little knowledge of agriculture. Accordingly, Future Harvest scientists are working to produce crops that require less labor, smaller amounts of water, and fewer agricultural chemicals. Included

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AgBioView Selection from the Past..........

'We'll Feed Our People As We See Fit'

- Hassan Adamu, Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Nigeria
Washington Post, September 11, 2000 http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46532-2000Sep10.html

It is possible to kill someone with kindness, literally. That could be the result of the well-meaning but extremely misguided attempts by European and North American groups that are advising Africans to be wary of agricultural biotechnology. They claim to have the environment and public health at the core of their opposition, but scientific evidence disproves their claims that enhanced crops are anything but safe. If we take their alarmist warnings to heart, millions of Africans will suffer and possibly die.

Agricultural biotechnology, whereby seeds are enhanced to instill herbicide tolerance or provide resistance to insects and disease, holds great promise for Africa and other areas of the world where circumstances such as poverty and poor growing conditions make farming difficult. Fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, machinery, fuel and other tools that richer nations take for granted as part of their farming regimen are luxuries in poorer countries.

Moreover, the soil in tropical climates, or in areas with inhospitable weather; cannot be farmed successfully in the more traditional ways. These circumstances demand unique agricultural solutions, and many have been made available through the advances of biotechnology.

To deny desperate, hungry people the means to control their futures by presuming to know what is best for them is not only paternalistic but morally wrong. Certainly, those with fertile lands and an abundance of food have every right to decide how they would like to grow their crops and process their foods. Organic farming, sophisticated methods of distributing food and other approaches are well and good for those who can afford to experiment. Starving people do not have this luxury. They want food and nourishment, not lectures, and we certainly won*t allow ourselves to be intimidated by eco-terrorists who destroy test crops and disrupt scientific meetings that strive to reveal the facts.

It is wrong and dangerous for a privileged people to presume that they know what is best for everyone. And when this happens, it cannot come as a shock that those who are imposed upon often see this attitude as colonialist.

Millions of Africans far too many of them children, are suffering from malnutrition and hunger. Agricultural biotechnology offers a way to stop the suffering. As Florence Wambugu, one of Africa's leading plant geneticists said recently, "In Africa, GM (genetically modifies) food could almost literally weed out poverty."

With regard to agricultural biotechnology, Africans are not asking for others to come in and grow our food. We are not asking for others to provide the financial means to establish this system in our countries. We want to come to the table as stakeholders. We know the conditions of our fields. We know the threats, the insects and diseases. We can work as partners to develop the seeds that could build peoples and nations.

We do not want to be denied this technology because of a misguided notion that we don*t understand the dangers or the future consequences. We understand. We understand that this system must continue to undergo study and careful use. We also understand that agricultural biotechnology has been deemed safe and nutritious by a host of nationally and internationally respected organizations such as the National Research Council, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the American Medical Association and the American Dietetic Association.

We will proceed carefully and thoughtfully, but we want to have the opportunity to save the lives of millions of people and change the course of history in many nations. That is our right, and we should not be denied by those with a mistaken idea that they know how best everyone should live of that they have the right to impose their values on us.

The harsh reality is that, without the help of agricultural biotechnology, many will not live.