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November 19, 2001


Peanuts, Notable quotables, Terrorists cleared, UK and GM, Lomborg


- Today's Topics in 'AgBioView' -

* High Yielding Peanut Variety Released
* Notable Eco-terrorist quotes
* Pair cleared over GM crop attack
* Britain urged to boost GM crops
* Lomborg
* Corn and soy futures
* Radioactive shit?

High Yielding Peanut Variety Released

November 19, 2001

To help Southeastern peanut producers battle devastating tomato spotted wilt virus, the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has released a new high-yield peanut with better disease resistance than previous varieties.

"The virus has been the most significant peanut disease in the U.S. Southeast for several years," said Dan Gorbet, professor of agronomy and head of UF's peanut breeding program in Marianna. "Currently, there are no chemical controls for it, so resistant peanut varieties and good management techniques are the only weapons we have."

He said the new peanut, named C-99R, has greater tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) resistance than its competition, including Georgia Green, the most widely grown peanut in the region. C-99R also resists late leaf spot and stem rot/white mold, which require costly fungicide treatments, and has the highest yield potential of any peanut suitable for the Southeast.

"Peanut yield varies from year to year and location to location, but on average C-99R produces more pounds per acre than other varieties," said Gorbet, based at UF's North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna.

However, Gorbet doesn't expect C99-R to completely replace Georgia Green, which accounts for more than 80 percent of Southeastern peanut production. He said the UF variety is designed to offer growers an alternative to standard peanuts, so farmers should make sure C-99R will meet their buyers' needs before planting it.

Like most peanuts grown in the Southeast, C-99R is a "runner market-type," used for peanut butter, candy and snacks, Gorbet said. But C99-R is a late maturing variety, harvested in late September and early October. Many Southeastern peanut farmers prefer to harvest in early September so they can plant winter forage by October 1 and graze cattle during fall and winter.

"If a farmer grows other crops harvested in early September, C-99R can help spread out the harvest schedule and make it more manageable," he said.

The seed, or edible part, of the C-99R is larger than average for a runner peanut, Gorbet said. While shellers and roasted peanut producers favor large seeds, some manufacturers consider them impractical for automated processing.

The UF variety was released on a limited basis in 1999 and has gained popularity quickly, said Tom Stadsklev, manager of Florida Foundation Seed Producers in Greenwood, which produces seed for farmers using UF crop varieties. He said C-99R seed was made available to the general public in April, 2001, with the peanut produced on 50,000 to 100,000 acres in the Southeast. Seed supply should be ample in 2002, and Stadsklev expects increased use of the variety.

"I can tell you from experience that it's a great-tasting peanut," he said. "The producers I've spoken to who tried it have been pleased. There's certainly a place for it in the market."

Notable Eco-terrorist quotes, from http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/columnists/locke/2001/locke11-15-01.htm

David Foreman, Earth First!: "We advocate biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake. It may take our extinction to set things straight."

Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalogue: "We have wished, we eco-freaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into the Stone Age."

Earth First! Newsletter: "If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS."

Dr. Van den Bosch, University of California, chided others about their concern for "all those little brown people in poor countries" who might be saved if DDT was used.

David Graber, biologist, National Park Service: "Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planet… Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."

Charles Wurster, chief scientist, Environmental Defense Fund: "There are too many people and [banning DDT] is as good a way to get rid of them as any."

Dr. Paul Taylor, professor of philosophy, City College of New York: "Given the total, absolute, and final disappearance of Homo Sapiens – not only would the Earth’s Community of Life continue to exist but – the ending of the human epoch on Earth would be greeted with a hearty ‘good riddance.’"

Pentti Linkola: "Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed."

Maurice Strong, secretary general, 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development:

"What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The group’s conclusion is "no." The rich countries won’t do it. They won’t change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about? This group of world leaders form a secret society to bring about an economic collapse. "

Pair cleared over GM crop attack

The Guardian (London)
November 20, 2001

Jurors at Worcester crown court yesterday cleared Barbara Charvet, 59, a retired teacher, and Jim Ridout, 26, a garden designer, of criminal damage after accepting the pair had acted out of conscience in cutting down genetically modified maize plants.

Britain urged to boost GM crops

Financial Times (London)
November 20, 2001

Tony Blair was yesterday urged by the European Commission to do more to encourage the cultivation of genetically modified crops in Britain.

Frits Bolkestein, the internal market commissioner, used a meeting at Downing Street to push the case for greater European development of GM organisms. Speaking before the meeting, Mr Bolkestein said: "It is a rather saddening spectacle to see that 0.03 per cent of worldwide acreage producing GMO produce is within the confines of the EU.

"We want to hold our own, leading in new technology, and this is a new technology of prime importance."

Mr Bolkestein added: "There is steadily less acreage for use in the world and we are leaving that for others. I am talking about products which have been approved by the EU's own scientific committee."

The prime minister has in the past defended the GM industry and the importance of the science, but while he may sympathise with Mr Bolkestein's comments, he knows there are significant elements within the government who do not share his views.

Yesterday's meeting came as two environmental campaigners were cleared of causing criminal damage to a crop of genetically modified maize. Barbara Charvet, 59, and Jim Ridout, 26, cut down the plants at Rosemaund Farm, Preston Wynne, Herefordshire, in August last year.

A jury at Worcester Crown Court took just under an hour to accept that the defendants had a lawful excuse for their actions, as they had been worried about cross-pollination, pollution to conventional crops and possible effects on the food chain. Robert Shrimsley.


The Independent (London)
November 20, 2001, Tuesday
By Tristram Hunt, Susan Greenfield

SCIENCE IS dictating how we live with a brutal momentum. Climate change, surveillance technology and, now, bio-terrorism are unassailable components of modern society. Yet the British public is still ignorant of the most elementary aspects of scientific inquiry, and the scientific establishment is arrogantly complicit in that ignorance.

While much of society is now media-savvy, science has been left behind. Groups opposed to scientific research are always there to take the call. And scientists have shown a masochistic lack of interest in public debate; their preferred medium is the rarefied pages of peer-reviewed journals such as Nature. Scientists have a proper concern for the discipline of their method and are wary of speaking out before their thesis has been tested by colleagues. The memory of the cold fusion "breakthrough", later proved horribly wrong, weighs heavy. Pressure groups talk in the black- and-white language loved by reporters; academics are usually more diffident. Scientists have been further scared away from public engagement by the media frenzy around GM technology in 1999, science's annus horribilis. The reduction of a complex branch of biological engineering to "Frankenstein food" was typical of media hopelessly ill equipped to discuss scientific progress rationally. And into the vacuum stepped big business. What inflic

Science's self-abnegation has undermined support for the very principle of scientific endeavour. At a time when most people glean scientific knowledge from the media, a refusal to engage with the popular press has been deeply detrimental. But this hapless amateurism may be about to change. Next month comes the official launch of the Royal Institute's Science Media Centre - a belated attempt to claw back some of the lost ground in public trust.

The centre is the brainchild of the institute's director, Susan Greenfield, and the broadcaster Lord Bragg of Wigton. As an Oxford professor in pharmacology and a media don, Greenfield has watched the collapse of faith in science and trust in scientists. Much of it, she believes, can be put down to an often unintentional media bias. While lobby groups get their message out quickly, science is left behind by the media cycle. Greenfield's aim is to help journalists to find the right scientist to talk to at the right time. "We need to help scientists understand the demands of the media," she says. And it is vital, says Lord Bragg, "that scientists learn to communicate if they are not to be marginalised".

The centre's target is busy news journalists who need the "science view". The Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, says that making sure all journalists have a grasp of science issues is the only way to "raise the debate above tabloid sloganising". The challenge is to place science firmly in the public realm, where "it can be discussed properly as part of general news and culture".

The Royal Society is now taking a more proactive stance on science controversies. Recent briefing papers on stem-cell therapy and nuclear energy have been deployed with far greater media acumen than usual. Stories are being placed and even "leaked" - a sure sign of professionalism. Also in London, the Science Museum is providing a forum for pro-science pressure groups and universities to meet; next year the British Association for the Advancement of Science relocates to the museum's Wellcome Wing.

Is all this making a difference? Things do seem to be improving slowly. Most people remain opposed to GM technology but are less opposed to researching it. Government support for the animal research company Huntingdon Life Sciences met with general approval. Parliament passed a Bill allowing research into stem-cell therapy.

The idea that the more we learn about science the more we will love it is misguided. We can know as much as we like about genetic engineering and still oppose it. But with proper debate, we would at least have sufficient knowledge to choose whether to embrace new discoveries or fear them. At the moment we are given only half the story.


November 20, 2001
By Graeme Wilson

BRUSSELS is pressing Tony Blair for a dramatic expansion in the quantity of GM crops grown in Britain.

European commissioner Frits Bolkestein delivered the message yesterday at a meeting with the Prime Minister in Downing Street.

Earlier, Mr Bolkestein said he would be telling Mr Blair it was crucial Europe started to take a lead in the field of genetically modified organisms. He declared that Britain and the rest of the EU should be 'mastering new technology' but was failing to do so in this area.

'GM products are making no progress,' said Mr Bolkestein. 'It's rather a saddening spectacle to see that 0.03 per cent of worldwide acreage producing GMs is within the confines of the EU compared to about 60 to 70 per cent in the U.S.

'We want to hold our own and we want to lead in new technologies - and this is a new technology of prime importance.'

Mr Bolkestein also brushed aside concerns about the safety of GM crops. 'I'm talking about products that have been approved by the EU's scientific committee,' he said.

His uncompromising message on an issue officially outside his remit - he deals with the EU's internal market, taxation and customs - signals Brussels' growing determination to press ahead with GM crops despite public opposition.

But it came on the day that two more protesters were cleared of causing criminal damage to GM crops planted as part of farm trials in Britain.

Mr Bolkestein's decision to raise the issue with Mr Blair reflects the Prime Minister's position as a leading supporters of GM technology.

While Labour agreed a three-year moratorium on the commercial growing of GM crops with the big biotechology firms to stave off public criticism, the Prime Minister is an enthusiastic advocate of the industry.

Mr Blair appeared to back down in February last year when he acknowledged that there was 'legitimate public concern' about GM crops. But five months later he changed tack by giving strong backing to the industry.

Yesterday's decision by a jury at Worcester Crown Court to clear two protesters of causing criminal damage to a field of GM maize renewed pressure on the Government to review its policy on field trials. Barbara Charvet, 59, and Jim Ridout, 26, cut down about two acres of both GM and non-GM plants at Rosemaund Farm, Preston Wynne, Here-fordshire, in August last year.

Mrs Charvet, of Michaelchurch Escley, and Mr Ridout, of Orcop, both Herefordshire, claimed they were compelled to act after their concerns about GM trials in Herefordshire to the Government, supermarkets and MPs 'fell on deaf ears'.

The jury appeared to accept their defence that they had a lawful excuse for their actions.

Friends of the Earth's GM campaigner Adrian Bebb said he was not surprised that Mr Bolkestein had decided to deliver such a strong message to Mr Blair.

'For years our Prime Minister has effectively been the U.S. spokesman on GM crops in Europe, but the fact remains that people across Europe remain deeply sceptical about this technology,' he said.

Date: 20 Nov 2001 21:28:42 -0000
From: "Andrew Apel"

Bjorn Lomborg’s detractors are now legion, with the release of his
book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. See, e.g.,

Many of them allege the book contains errors. Graciously, Lomborg
admits them at

The errata sheet is not long:

p30,1: “global catch has increased by 75 percent” should be 55 percent.

p111,2: “forests had shrunk from 27.25 percent” should read “27.15”
which is also pointed out in endnote 770, p376. Thanks to David Sandalow,
Executive Vice President of World Wildlife Fund.

p250,1: “By far the majority of these species are to be found among the
insects, such as beetles, ants, flies, and worms, as well as fungi,
bacteria and viruses.” Worms are not insects and the sentence should read:
“By far the majority of these species are to be found among the
insects, such as beetles, ants, and flies, as well as worms, fungi, bacteria
and viruses. Thanks to David Sandalow, Executive Vice President of World
Wildlife Fund.

p280,1: In the text I have erroneously interchanged the B1 and B2
scenarios (though not in the graph, Figure 149) and thus, the criticism in
endnote 2304 is incorrect. Thanks to Dr. Arthur C. Petersen, Faculty of
Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit.


Stork, Nigel E. 1997 “Measuring global biodiversity and its decline.”
referes incorrectly to Wilson et al. 1997:41-68, should be Reaka-Kudla
et al. 1997:41-68.

Subject: Views/opinions
To: agbioworld@yahoo.com
From: GDrimmer@bunge.com
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 10:41:49 -0600

Have you seen any analysis/report on the future of corn vs. soybeans in
the biotech world? Will corn end up dominating soybeans as corn is improved in protein quantity and quality as is the oil?

Your opinion appreciated.


Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 17:23:12 +0100 (Vest-Europa (normaltid))
From: "rutkowska&hopkin"
To: Agbioworld@yahoo.com
Subject: Radioactive?

I don't seem to be able to find any data about the the difference if any between Organic and Commercial produced foods in regard to their radioactive content.
After Chernobyl we had a long list of things not to eat, such as berries picked on the mountains, fungi, animals and birds living in the mountains, etc. One thing that stuck in my mind and that was that reindeer and sheep from the mountains had to have a period of six months on low land hay to get rid of the majority of the radioactivety in their bodies and be safe to eat.
In Organic farming one puts animal excretion products on the soil, if there is trace radioactivety in the soil one is adding to it if the animals are from the same area, or what?
a0felan3@hotmail.com T.S.Hopkin