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Date:

December 16, 2001

Subject:

Analyzing Starlink; Understanding Biosafety and

 

AGBIOVIEW: Analyzing Starlink; Understanding Biosafety and
Regulation; Richard Jefferson; Governments Funding Activists

Today's topics in AgBioView:

* Starlink Corn: A Risk Analysis
* Flavr Savr Craig Sams
* Making Safety First a Reality
* China GM Cotton Acerage Doubles
* NCGA, Monsanto Reject Claim Farmers Lose Money On GMO Corn
* Benefits From EU's Upbeat Line, No Need For GM-Free Zone
* Grassroots Innovator - Agriculture's Meta-technologist
* First-Ever Guide to Understanding Biotech Regulation
* Recognizing Dr. Arnel R Hallauer
* Governments Fund Mexican Activists

Starlink Corn: A Risk Analysis

- Luca Bucchini and Lynn R. Goldman, Environmental Health
Perspectives Vol. 110, No 1, Jan 2002; Dept of Env Health Sciences,
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore MD, USA

http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2002/110p5-13bucchini/abstract.html

Abstract: Modern biotechnology has dramatically increased our ability
to alter the agronomic traits of plants. Among the novel traits that
biotechnology has made available, an important group includes
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-derived insect resistance. This
technology has been applied to potatoes, cotton, and corn. Benefits
of Bt crops, and biotechnology generally, can be realized only if
risks are assessed and managed properly. The case of Starlink corn, a
plant modified with a gene that encodes the Bt protein Cry9c, was a
severe test of U.S. regulatory agencies. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency had restricted its use to animal feed due to
concern about the potential for allergenicity. However, Starlink corn
was later found throughout the human food supply, resulting in food
recalls by the Food and Drug Administration and significant
disruption of the food supply.

Here we examine the regulatory history of Starlink, the assessment
framework employed by the U.S. government, assumptions and
information gaps, and the key elements of government efforts to
manage the product. We explore the impacts on regulations, science,
and society and conclude that only significant advances in our
understanding of food allergies and improvements in monitoring and
enforcement will avoid similar events in the future. Specifically, we
need to develop a stronger fundamental basis for predicting allergic
sensitization and reactions if novel proteins are to be introduced in
this fashion. Mechanisms are needed to assure that worker and
community aeroallergen risks are considered. Requirements are needed
for the development of valid assays so that enforcement and post
market surveillance activities can be conducted. Key words:
allergens, biotechnology, corn, food hypersensitivity, pesticides,
risk assessment.

---
Conclusions: In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences (19) pointed
to ways that the regulation of pest-protected plants can be improved
and to a number of areas that need further research. The Starlink
episode contributes a real-life example in which, in the absence of
complete scientific information, the U.S. EPA attempted to limit the
introduction of a new genetically modified organism by requiring that
it only be used for animal feed. The inherent weaknesses in the
identification of new allergens, described by the NRC report, largely
contributed to the
uncertainties about the risks of Starlink corn and the subsequent
food crisis. In addition, there were fundamental flaws in risk
management. In the absence of monitoring by the U.S. EPA or the FDA,
perhaps it should not be so surprising that this variety was widely
distributed in the food supply before the U.S. EPA (and Aventis)
could take action to enforce the registration require-ments. The
credibility of this technology has been shaken by the uncertainty in
the
processes to assess and manage the risks of Starlink corn. Now
industry is moving for-ward to attempt to construct better models for
assessment of allergenic hazards of biotechnology, and agencies are
developing more rigorous regulatory approaches.

There are several specific areas identified in this case study that
suggest a need for changes in future approaches to the assessment and
management of allergenicity of PIPs and other genetically modified
food. First, and most obviously, there is a need for research to
develop a fundamental basis for the assessment of risks of
allergenicity. Such research needs to be relevant to the develop-ment
of models for assessment of sensitization and triggering of allergic
responses by proteins in food. Without a strong science basis for the
development of such models, it will not be possible to identify
levels of novel proteins that can be considered safe for
intro-duction to the food supply. A closely related need is
fundamental knowledge about the
attributes of proteins that cause allergy. What are the structural
characteristics of proteins that render them allergenic to humans? Is
it adequate to compare sequences and side groups, or are
three-dimensional relation-ships more important?

From the standpoint of risk assessment of allergenicity, the approach
of the U.S. EPA and the other agencies needs to be broadened to
consider not only the potential for food allergy but also the
potential for workplace and community allergic responses. Exposures
to aeroallergens in work environments may be much greater than
exposures via the food supply, depending on where the protein is
expressed in the plant and on factors such as stability and
digestibility of the protein (which are not relevant to inhalation
expo-sure). Likewise, communities in proximity to farming or
food-loading and processing operations may have significant exposures
to these proteins.

From the standpoint of risk management, it is clear that, in the case
of Starlink, the U.S. EPA trusted seed suppliers and growers to
enforce restrictions on the planting of corn that were not
maintained. Evidently, there was little governmental oversight to
assure that the terms of the registration were obeyed. Any
governmental system for regulation of PIPs and other genetically
modified plants needs to employ risk-management strategies that are
realistic and that can be monitored to assure they are followed. In
addition, it appears that there may have been interbreeding between
the Starlink corn and non-PIP corn, despite efforts to maintain
buffer zones. If this proves to be the case, it calls into question
the value of buffer zones, at least for corn.

It is also clear that there was no way of doing postmarket
surveillance. Methods to assay food for novel proteins (and possibly
DNA) and human sera for evidence of allergic sensitization need to be
available before novel proteins go to market. Research is needed to
develop and validate ELISA assays that can be used to confirm case
reports of adverse allergic events.

It is becoming increasingly clear that, as predicted by the National
Academy of Sciences report in 1987 (11), the hazards potentially
posed by genetically modified organisms are not unique or impossible
to deal with in the context of the experience gained with other
organisms. At the same time, it should be recognized that genetically
modified organisms might pose hazards to health that need to be
assessed and managed. Identification of well-defined risks will
reduce concerns over every genetically modified organism or over
genetically modified organisms per se (an example could be a general
shift from DNA to protein assays for exposure assessment). The
Starlink episode is a consequence of an assessment science that has
been outpaced by development of new technology. Federal agencies and
other stakeholders should become involved to guarantee that we have a
broad approach to prevention of new food allergies. Implicit in this
will be the need for an increase in research efforts in order to gain
the fundamental knowledge that is needed for development of
regulatory assessment methods. Recognition of the potential for
risks should lead to better risk management that will include
refinement of monitoring methods coupled with strong enforcement.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From: "Redenbaugh, Keith"
Subject: Craig Sams

Craig Sams has contributed many arguments to your list server. So, I
would expect that he was somewhat knowledgeable about biotechnology.
Yet, he is quoted as the UK's Soil Association's chair as saying,
"The Flavr-Savr GM tomato, which was sold through UK supermarkets,
was later found to have caused intestinal lesions in rats. Scientists
at America's Food and Drug Authority had called for it not to be
approved for human consumption but pressure from Calgene, the company
that created it, resulted in this advice being over ruled.

There are several major problems with this:

1) The Flavr Savr tomato was never ever sold in the UK. Rather,
Zeneca sold tomato paste produced from a transgenic, sense-suppressed
polygalacturonase tomato. Their tomato was a different transformation
event and different product.

2) Calgene found the same lesions in rats fed traditional tomatoes.
There was no scientific difference between the two types of tomatoes
when it came to lesions forming in the rat guts. Is Sams then saying
that the FDA should ban ALL tomatoes because of the lesions?

3) Calgene did not pressure FDA to do anything. FDA spent 4 1/2 years
before it was satisfied that the Flavr Savr tomato was as safe as
other tomatoes. Calgene had hoped for approval in 1992, but obtained
it in 1994. This delay had a negative effect on Calgene's survival.
So much for "pressure."

4) Within any group of scientists (including the FDA), there will be
dissent. However, even though there may have been some FDA'ers who
still had some concerns at the end of the review process, the overall
decision at FDA was that Flavr Savr tomato was "as safe as other
tomatoes." If they had still been legitimate concerns about the
product's safety, the FDA would never have approved it.

I am disappointed that the falsehoods about the FlavrSavr continue.
Someone is not paying attention.

- Dr. Keith Redenbaugh, Associate Director, Regulatory Affairs,
Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Woodland, California

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

All The Biosafety Information You Wanted to Know!

If you have not requested the CD-ROM "Essential Biosafety", I urge
you to do so!
This FREE educational resource from AGBIOS, a Canadian consulting
firm, in association with the International Service for the
Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), has comprehensive
information about the safety of biotech crops. The CD includes a
database of technical and safety information about all approved
biotech crops, a library and a training section.

For more information about AGBIOS and ISAAA, visit www.agbios.com and
www.isaaa.org, or to receive your free copy of the CD, go to
http://www.essentialbiosafety.info/cdorder.html

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Making Safety First a Reality

- Final Report of the March 2-3, 2001 Workshop. Safety First: Active
Governance of Genetic Engineering for Environment and Human Health
Worldwide.
- Kapuscinski AR; Jacobs LR; Pullins EE, Institute for Social,
Economic & Ecological Sustainability (ISEES) publication. August 29,
2001

http://www.bio-scope.org/disp_doc.cfm?id=E5040A6B64EA48F68C0F0AFF15836D24

Workshop Summary: The Institute for Social, Economic and Ecological
Sustainability (ISEES) is pioneering an alternative approach to
governing the safety of biotechnology that transcends the currently
polarized debates. The Institute is proposing to combine the
initiatives of business with government, consumer and public
involvement in shaping, reviewing, and overseeing the formulation and
implementation of scientifically reliable and socially credible
safety standards for genetically modified organisms and derived
products. This "Safety First" approach would address both human and
environmental safety.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

China GM Cotton Acerage Doubles - ISAAA

- Reuters December 14, 2001 (From Agnet)

Singapore -- The International Service for the Acquisition of
Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) was cited as saying on Friday the
amount of land in China used to grow genetically modified (GM) cotton
doubled to three million hectares (7.4 million acres) in 2000 over
the previous year. Randy Hautea, based in the Philippines and global
coordinator and director of the Southeast Asian centre of ISAAA, a
non-profit making organisation to fight hunger and poverty in
developing countries through sharing crop biotechnology applications,
was quoted as saying, "The Chinese experience amply demonstrated the
multiful and significant benefits that appropriate GM technology or
GM crop can deliver to the society and to farmers in particular."

The agriculture scientist was cited as saying China, the first
country in the world to commercialise GM technology in early 1990s,
had seen a rapid growth in the acreage for GM cotton from
60,000-65,000 hectares in 1998 and 1.5 million in 1999.

The transgenic BT cotton contains the bacterium Bacillus
thuringiensis proteins and is resistant to corn borers, bollworms and
other pests that damage cotton plants. He said the varieties of BT
cotton, developed by China and by Monsanto Co , had led to a large
reduction in the use of pesticides and production costs. Pesticide
poisoning had also been reduced. Additional financial benefits per
farmer ranged from $185 to $400 or more, he calculated. It also
showed small-scale farmers benefitted more from the BT technology
than larger farmers.

Clive James, chairman of ISAAA board of directors, was cited as
saying that land devoted globally to GM crops, including soybeans,
corn, cotton and canola, was growing by 10 percent or more in the
current year, and involved more than five million farmers, and that
developing countries in the south accounted for 84 percent of the
growth in the year, he said. Of the total 2000 GM acreage, 58 percent
was planted with soybeans, 23 percent with corn, 12 percent with
cotton and seven percent with canola, he said.

Herbicide tolerant crops accounted for 74 percent, insecticide
resistant crops for 19 percent and the rest was crops with both
characteristics. He also said independent studies in 1999 estimated
economic advantages from BT crops totalled $700 million, which had
been shared by two million farmers. It included some $140 million for
BT cotton farmers in China.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

NCGA, Monsanto Reject Claim Farmers Lose Money On GMO Corn

- Kim Archer, Dow Jones, Dec 14, 2001

The National Corn Growers Association and Monsanto Co. are disputing
a claim that U.S. farmers are losing money by planting gene-modified
corn. "It is ridiculous and downright insulting to assume that we
would make that decision without having clearly weighed the costs and
benefits," said Leon Corzine, chairman of NCGA's Biotech Working
Group and an Illinois farmer. A study released Thursday by
Genetically Engineered Food Alert, a campaign that promotes testing
and labeling of GMO foods, alleged that farmers lost $92 million over
a five-year period by planting Bt (developed with Bacillus
thuringiensis) corn due to price premiums for the seed.

"U.S. corn producers are very attuned to costs and revenues and the
bottom line. About 18% of corn farmers in the U.S. chose to plant Bt
corn this past year," Corzine said. Bryan Hurley, a spokesman for
Monsanto Co. (MON), a major developer of gene-modified corn, soybeans
and cotton seeds, said the study is "inconsistent with our experience
and our surveys of growers and then other research we see out of
other academics and scientists."

In Monsanto's yearly grower surveys, Hurley said the company finds
farmers are more than 90% satisfied with the use of Bt corn, and 93%
said they would continue to plant it. "Often they're getting
significant yield and dollar advantages. They're getting a
$16-per-acre advantage in areas where there is significant corn borer
pressure," Hurley said. He said corn growers "are savvy business
people and they're making production decisions that benefit their
farms. And they wouldn't continue to grow it if it wasn't benefitting
them."

NCGA's Corzine said biotech corn is one of many tools that corn
producers have available to them, and individual farmers decide
whether it will work in their operation. "It isn't appropriate nor
effective in all corn production situations," Corzine said. He added
that "more credible" studies of Bt corn show it is very effective in
high corn borer population areas. One such study by 22 USDA and
Midwestern land grant university scientists concluded the use of Bt
corn is "one component in the economically and ecologically sound
management of lepidopteran corn pests."

Corzine said, "The bottom line is that if Bt corn weren't economic
and effective for those farmers who choose to buy it, it wouldn't and
won't survive in the marketplace. Farmers know what works for them
and what will return net income to their operations." Rick Tolman,
NCGA executive vice president, said the study released Thursday lacks
credibility because its publishers use "as their farmer organization
spokesperson a representative of the American Corn Growers
Association." "ACGA has much stronger ties to and support from
environmental extremists than they do from actual corn producers in
the U.S. They aren't credible representatives for U.S. corn growers,"
he said.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Benefits From EU's Upbeat Line, No Need For GM-Free Zone

- Phusadee Arunmas, Bangkok Post Dec 14 , 2001

Thai food exporters are likely to gain from the European Union's
policy to open its market to genetically modified products.
Charuayporn Tantipipatpong, the president of Thai Pineapple Canning
Industry Corporation, said the EU's acceptance of genetically
modified food as safe would make consumers more confident about the
products.

Thai food makers would benefit as they used some imported ingredients
that had been modified. In some cases, the process used in modifying
ingredients had reduced the chemical residue. Ms Charuayporn said it
was not necessary for the government to turn the country into a
"GM-free zone". Instead it should make products that were in demand.
Last October the EU Commission revealed the results of 81 research
projects carried out in the past 15 years. The research on modified
plants and their derivatives revealed no new risks to humans or the
environment.

Calling this a positive sign, Parate Attavipach, of
PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal & Tax Consultants Ltd, said his only
concern was the European Union's new regulation on labelling and
tracing genetically modified food including animal feed. The
regulation, to take effect in 2003, requires food exporters to state
on product labels whether the food contains modified ingredients.

In view of the EU's acceptance of modified ingredients as safe, Ms
Charuayporn said the labelling rule was unnecessary and could become
a trade barrier. Setthasan Sertthakarun, an executive of Thai Edible
Oil Plc, said that in light of the EU's thinking, the Thai government
should set a clear policy on genetically modified crops. "The
government should lift its ban on farm experiments on plants," he
said, noting that China also accepted modified products.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Grassroots Innovator - Agriculture's Meta-technologist

- The Economist, Dec 6, 2001
Http://economist.com/science/tq/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=885178

Richard Jefferson wants to change the face of agriculture, by putting
innovation back into the hands of farmers

Catch him on a good day and Richard Jefferson will play you some
bluegrass on his guitar. He keeps a large collection of antique
instruments, and often travels to conferences with a laptop in one
hand and a mandolin in the other.

Yet get him to talk about his professional interest, agricultural
biotechnology, and Dr Jefferson's tune becomes more sombre. He points
to the 780m people in the developing world who are suffering from
malnutrition-a large proportion of them farmers who cannot grow, or
sell, enough to make ends meet. Science will not solve their
problems, says Dr Jefferson. But biotech could help them to improve
their lot. The biotech he has in mind, however, is not the sort that
agribusiness has perfected-the "Round-up Ready" soybeans or "Bt"
maize (corn) that have been genetically engineered with Iowa in mind,
not sub-Saharan Africa.

Fifteen years spent consulting on agricultural projects for the World
Bank, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Rockefeller
Foundation have convinced him that the technology needed to boost
agriculture in the poorest parts of the world has to emerge from the
ground up. In short, from those in the field who know the limits of
the land and local culture, and not in far-flung laboratories with
one-size-fits-all solutions.

But this sort of grassroots innovation-traditionally done by
public-sector researchers working closely with local farmers-is
dwindling. It is a fact of life that the tools of biotechnology do
not come cheap. It is also undeniably true that, ever since the
"green revolution" of the 1960s, governments everywhere have been
pruning back agricultural research as well as official development
aid-as if hunger had been conquered.

Meanwhile, companies in the rich industrial world have been pouring
money into biotechnology, and now account for at least a third of all
agricultural research, says Philip Pardey of the International Food
Policy Research Institute. This shift in balance between public and
private sectors in agricultural research means that commercial
interests, rather than food-security needs, are driving the agenda.
Much like pharmaceutical companies, agricultural firms are more
interested in the concerns of rich than poor countries. Nothing wrong
with that: biotech firms are not charities. But it does mean that
there are imbalances which global institutions need to address.

Minstrel of apomixis: One such imbalance is the way
intellectual-property rights are distributed between rich and poor.
As companies and universities in America, Europe and Japan scramble
to stake their legal claims to all the most promising genes,
techniques and plant varieties, a tangled web of patents,
cross-licences and material transfer agreements is making life
difficult for those who want to help. A case in point is so-called
"golden" (ie, vitamin A-enhanced) rice, which has been held up in the
laboratory while dozens of different patents have had to be dealt
with to allow its release. Breaking down barriers

One way forward, Dr Jefferson believes, is to adopt a more catalytic
approach to innovation. What is needed, he muses, are some
"meta-technologies" that overcome the technical, capital and
intellectual-property barriers in agricultural research and allow
others to do the innovating. He likens this decentralisation of
agricultural innovation to the way that the Linux operating system,
which was created by a global band of dedicated experts and donated
free to the world, has become a pillar of e-commerce and a serious
alternative to the pricey wares of Microsoft, Sun and IBM. The new
meta-technologies envisaged by Dr Jefferson would offer a genuine
alternative to agri-business and the network of agricultural research
centres (called CGIAR) sponsored in part by the World Bank.

Although they carry out much good work, Dr Jefferson fears that these
institutions have become locked into an established way of doing
things. Dr Jefferson's answer is to bring biotechnology closer to the
land. Let local plant breeders and growers develop the foods they
think best. To this end, Dr Jefferson founded the Centre for the
Application of Molecular Biology to International Agriculture in
Canberra, Australia, nearly a decade ago.

This not-for-profit centre, called CAMBIA for short, has some 40
researchers drawn from around the world. At the centre's core, and
the basis of Dr Jefferson's own expertise, is a set of cutting-edge
techniques for agricultural biotech. He made his name in the 1980s
with the invention of GUS, a tool that makes it easier to track the
changes made while tinkering with the genetic make-up of plants. He
was also the first in the world to plant genetically modified crops
in an open field.

Today, CAMBIA has half a dozen technologies on the boil. One of its
most ambitious is called "transgenomics". Instead of using the
conventional approach of shooting "foreign" genes into a plant,
transgenomics takes advantage of the genetic diversity that is
already within the plant itself. Through this genetic sleight of
hand, CAMBIA has created more than 5,000 strains of rice which have
the capacity to turn on genes in different ways than normal-in, say,
a root rather than a leaf, or at an earlier time. These "activating"
strains can then be crossed with normal plants of interest to
breeders. In turn, the breeders can look for novel traits which crop
up in these plants' offspring. Tests are under way at Wuhan
University in China. If it works in rice, the technology could be
extended to a variety of crops.

While it is early days in transgenomics, CAMBIA's project on patents
has reached fruition. With a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation,
the centre has spent two years building a searchable web-based
database (www.cambiaip.org) that contains more than 257,000
agriculture-related patents from America, Europe and the
international Patent Co-operation Treaty system. The aim was to
create a simple means of letting ordinary users tap the wealth of
technical and commercial information contained in a vast library of
patent documents that would otherwise be far too costly and tricky to
access. The searchable website, launched in August, is already
getting hundreds of "hits" a day from users around the world.
Immaculate conception

Another project that Dr Jefferson has on the boil is an international
consortium that he is setting up to develop apomixis-"seeds without
sex". He is convinced that apomixis will transform agriculture,
particularly in poorer parts of the world. Some plant species, such
as wheat, reproduce through seeds created by the union of male and
female sex cells when pollen from one plant drifts on to the flower
of another. Other species, such as bananas, opt for asexual
reproduction, sending out biochemical signals to transform bits of
themselves into new plants. But a few curious crops-plants related to
pearl millet, for instance-can, in effect, clone themselves, by
producing seed without the need for pollination.

To Dr Jefferson and his colleagues, this immaculate conception is
more than a botanical curiosity. Today, millions of people in
sub-Saharan Africa rely on cassava, a starchy root, as their main
meal. Cassava propagates asexually, which means that viruses or fungi
present in the parent tissue will carry into the offspring. However,
if cassava could be made to reproduce through seed, as in apomixis,
this infectious legacy might be left behind. According to the Boston
Consulting Group, apomixis technology could save cassava and potato
growers as much as $3.2 billion a year. Apomixis might also offer a
quick and easy means of mass-producing hybrid seed. Hybrid cereals,
created through selective breeding of elite species, often have
higher yields and more desirable features than their common-or-garden
relatives. But this genetic superiority is lost within a generation
if the hybrids reproduce sexually through seed.

That means that farmers cannot simply save grain from one harvest to
plant the next season, but have to buy fresh hybrid seeds. By
generating seed which is essentially a carbon copy of the original
hybrid, apomixis overcomes this problem of genetic dilution. Even
such firms as Pioneer which earn their living from selling hybrid
seeds are interested in apomixis. Producing hybrid seeds is a costly
business; apomixis could cut those costs by more than a third.
Formidable hurdles lie ahead. Some of the genes that play a part in
apomixis have been identified. But that is a far cry from working out
the full complement of molecules and mechanisms involved. And while
few patents have so far been awarded on the genes and processes
involved in apomixis, that could change.

Three years ago, Dr Jefferson led a group of experts in signing the
"Bellagio Declaration", which pledged to keep apomixis free of
intellectual-property restrictions. Nobody developing apomixis
technology wants a repeat of the messy "Terminator" affair of the
late 1990s. Then, non-governmental organisations came to blows with
Monsanto over patents on a genetic system which, activists claimed,
could prevent farmers from saving and planting seeds year after year.
Dr Jefferson believes the capacity for apomixis lies dormant in most
plants. And, like transgenomics, it is not so much a question of
giving crops entirely new components through genetic engineering, but
rather a matter of stimulating the plants to use the genetic
resources that are already in them.

Much the same could be said of the universities, agricultural
research stations, biotech firms and seed companies that Dr Jefferson
wants to mobilise to turn apomixis into a practical technology. The
scientific, commercial and regulatory expertise needed for what many
have called the "Manhattan Project" of farming already exists. The
problem is getting the varied interests to pull together in a
coherent way-just as the Linux "open source" fans did-and make the
product accessible to all. To its credit, CAMBIA has resisted the
lure of exclusive licences and shareholder investment, because it
wants its work to be freely available and widely used. As Dr
Jefferson points out, "It takes a lot of money to be dumb and
survive, but you don't need much money to be smart."

That said, understanding-and exploiting-apomixis is going to take a
lot more than seed funds. So Dr Jefferson is doing the rounds of
leading philanthropic organisations. He wants to raise $100m-200m for
a ten-year campaign to get apomixis out of the test-tube and on to
the dinner table. Getting this show on the road will be his toughest
act yet.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

First-Ever Guide to Understanding Biotech Regulation

- Environmental Law Institute; December 11, 2001

WASHINGTON D.C - Few topics are as controversial as the use of
genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Plants that express their own
insect repellents, fish that grow faster or bigger, and foods
modified to provide greater nutrient value are just some examples of
how GMOs can be placed into everyday life. The Environmental Law
Institute® has just published the first book that guides readers
through the maze of federal laws and regulations, describing how the
various requirements apply to different intended uses.

The Biotechnology Deskbook provides extensive analysis of the
Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology and the
Policy on Planned Introductions of Biotechnology Products. The book
discusses the substantial body of regulation and guidance for
particular types of organisms, as well as recent case studies that
provide examples of the application of these requirements. The book
also examines the role of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in
assuring full consideration of the environmental effects of proposals
for federal actions having significant environmental impacts,
including releases.

Current regulatory programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior,
and the Food and Drug Administration are described, as are other
applicable statutes. Liability and enforcement issues are also
examined in this up-to-date book. It is the only available resource
that contains both a comprehensive analysis and the texts of valuable
agency memoranda and case studies.

The book is co-authored by William L. Anderson, Nancy S. Bryson,
Robert C. Davis, Jr., Philip Katz, Richard J. Mannix, Steven P.
Quarles, Richard E. Schwartz from the Washington, DC law offices of
Crowell and Moring LLP, and William M. Cohen from the DC law offices
of Perkins Coie LLP, and Adjunct Professor at American University
Washington College of Law.

The Biotechnology Group of Crowell & Moring represents businesses and
individuals at every level and phase of the world's biotechnology
revolution. Crowell & Moring is a full service law firm with its
principal office in Washington, DC and offices in Irvine, California,
London, and Brussels. Perkins Coie is a leading international law
firm with 14 offices in North America and Asia. The firm's expertise
ranges from traditional enterprises such as manufacturing and real
estate to emerging fields such as life sciences and technology.

Copies of the Biotechnology Deskbook are available for $79.95 plus
shipping. The book can be ordered by calling (800) 433-5120 or by
sending an email to orders@eli.org. To order this publication online,
or for more information about this and other ELI publications, visit
our website at www.eli.org.
--
ELI is an independent, non-profit research and educational
organization based in Washington, DC. The Institute serves the
environmental profession in business, government, the private bar,
public interest organizations, academia, and the press.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Recognizing Dr. Arnel R Hallauer
From: "Dr. Gurumurti Natarajan"

> Dr. Arnel R. Hallauer Wins Verdant Partners 2001 Crop Genetics Award
> - Business Wire, Dec 11, 2001
> MILWAUKEE--For his international contributions to the advancement of
>corn breeding and quantitative genetics for the past 43 years, Dr.

+++++++
The American Seed Trade Association deserves to be congratulated for
recognising the long service and numerous contributions of Dr. Arnel
R Hallauer in the field of quantitative genetics and maize breeding.
I was privileged to have Professor Hallauer serve in my graduate
committee at Iowa State University. Ever a smiling face, Dr. Hallauer
has been a very affable and easy-to-approach individual who spared
no efforts in making his students at home through intricate
computations and esoteric philosophies of corn breeding and crop
improvement.

He would give a guest lecture series or two each year on advanced
topics of plant breeding at Ames which were always full-house
sessions thronged by numerous students that had already taken that
course earlier as also by other learned professors on the campus.

A very hard working individual, his contributions to quantitative
genetics have been monumental and have elucidated complex mechanisms
in a lucid manner. He has had numerous publications and has been on
the editorial board of several journals. His book on "Quantitative
Genetics in Maize Breeding" has been a great influence on many a
student in different parts of the world.

Through these columns, I join many others, who have like me benefited
from Dr. Arnel Hallauer's many useful contributions to corn breeding
and quantitative genetics and for being there, when we sought him.

I wish him happiness and joy in his chosen endeavors!

- Gurumurti Natarajan, Ph D, GREENTHUMB, Chennai, India

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Governments Fund Mexican Activists

According to Greenpeace, it has joined Mexican environment and
farming groups in launching a formal complaint process against GE
maize imports. Greenpeace’ co-signatories on the complaint are:
National Farmers’ Association of Commercial Enterprises (ANEC), the
National Union of Regional Organisations (UNORCA), Centre for Studies
for Rural Change in Mexico (CECCAM) and the Group for Environmental
Studies (GEA).
See
http://www.greenpeace.org/~geneng/highlights/food/mexcorncontamin3.htm

Everyone knows about Greenpeace’ money. Who funds these other groups?
As it turns out, they get public money. The US, the Netherlands, the
European Union and the United Nations give financial support to the
agitators.

Two signatories to the complaint -- ANEC and UNORCA -- are part of a
larger international group. Called Via Campesina, it's a
confederation of groups around the world. Its international
secretariat is designated as the Association of Organizations Central
American Farmers for the Cooperation and the Development (ASOCODE)
See http://rds.org.hn/via/what-is.htm

ASOCODE is a "counterpart" of Netherlands-based Humanist Institute
for Development
Co-operation (HIVOS). See
http://www.hivos.nl/nederlands/partners/zoeken/partner/index.php?org_nummer=RM001

HIVOS supplies its "counterparts" with "financial and political
support." See http://www.hivos.nl/english/counterparts/index.html

A large part of the funds that HIVOS spends each year comes from the
Dutch national government budget for development cooperation. The
European Union, groups and organizations and private individuals make
contributions in various ways as well. This group had worldwide
expenditures in 1999 of 105.8 million Dutch Guilders (US$43.4
million).
See http://www.hivos.nl/english/supporthivos/index.html

One has to wonder if the Dutch government, much less the European
Union, knows that taxpayer funds are being handed over like this and
used to attack another country's agricultural and trade policy.

CECCAM, another signatory to the Greenpeace complaint, is basically
an anti-free trade
group. See http://www.cb3rob.net/~merijn89/nieuws/99-05-10.html
and http://www.citizen.org/trade/wto/seattle/articles.cfm?ID=5576

Nonetheless, CECCAM received $18,250 from the Inter-American
Foundation (IAF) Never heard of the IAF? It's an independent agency
of the United States federal government.
See http://www.iaf.gov/

It gets worse: the purpose of the funding was "to continue helping
six networks of Mexican small-scale farmers participate with local,
regional, and national governments in consensus policy-making around
agricultural and related rural development issues."
See http://www.iaf.gov/ar96/ar740.htm

Sounds like a worthy purpose, doesn't it? Somehow, I don't think what
CECCAM is doing
is quite what the IAF had in mind.

Another group working with Greenpeace to disrupt trade between the US
and Mexico is
the GEA. It's part of the Rainforest Alliance.
See
http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/programs/cmc/newsletter/sep01-1.html
See also, http://www.eco-index.org/search/results.cfm?ProjectID=181

The Rainforest Alliance had 40 employees and a budget of $4.5 million
in 2000.
See http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/about/index.html

Where does the Rainforest Alliance get its money? From two
foundations, in part: The Summit Foundation and the New-Land
Foundation.
See http://www.eco-index.org/about/index.html

Activist groups also thrive on foundation money, so let's take a look
at them.

The New-Land Foundation apparently provides funds for projects in the fields of civil rights/justice, the environment (except hazardous waste), population control, peace/arms control and leadership development as it relates to the above categories.
See http://www.euconflict.org/euconflict/guides/orgs/fund/107.htm

This foundation has $4.5 million in assets and most of its major contributions came from a gaggle of miscellaneous environmental groups. Some of the contributors are more
interesting: in 2000 it received $10,000 from the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Human Rights for "general support." That year, it also got $15,000 in "general support" from the Rainforest Alliance! Not once, but twice!
(Seems like the money goes both ways.) See
http://www.grantsmart.org/db/ein5.php3/C/0/I/136086562/Y/1999/T/PDF/V/FDNCENTER/downloads/136086562.pdf

The Summit Foundation, like the New-Land Foundation, is based in New York. It's much smaller, with assets of only $44,000 as disclosed in its 1998 tax filing, the latest date available. But who knows what's
happened since then? See
http://www.grantsmart.org/db/ein4.php3/I/133805672/Y/093000/T/PDF/V/FDNCENTER/downloads/133805672.pdf

But there's more--the Rainforest Alliance is also funded by the Global Environmental Facility - Small Grants Program of Costa Rica/United Nations Development Program and
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service!
See http://www.eco-index.org/about/index.html

Something like the Rainforest Alliance would not be complete without a public relations arm, and they have one. It's called Neotropics
Communications. See http://www.eco-index.org/about/index.html

In part, the mission of Neotropics is to "Keep the worldwide media supplied with fresh
and exciting news stories about both environmental controversies and
success storiesin Latin America." See
http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/programs/cmc/index.html

This PR effort is also funded by the US and the UN. See
http://www.eco-index.org/about/index.html

Many have often complained of how philanthropic foundations are funding misanthropic campaigns. I'd say it's far more
unconscionable--actually a breach of public trust--when governments, intergovernmental organizations and their agencies get into the same
game.