Today in AgBioView
* Biotechnology Policies for a Better World
* When Extremism Backfires
* Eco-Taliban & Eco-terrorism
* Greens Denounce Anti-GM Vandalism
* Biotech Helps 'Feed the World' Through Creation of Al-Tolerant Wheat
* Organic Turn-off?
* Europeans, Science and Technology
* Relevance of GM Plants to Indian Agriculture - Book
* When Science Meets Politics
* Public-Private Partnerships for Tech Transfer
* Terry Hopkins - Fairy Tale
* Leave NOT Science to the Scientists
* What's Wrong?
* Correction: Designer Food
Biotechnology Policies for a Better World: Food and Agriculture
Committee Sees Potential in Biotechnology
- National Policy Association, Jan. 9 , 2002, http://www.npa1.org
WASHINGTON, - The National Policy Association's Food and Agriculture
Committee (FAC) released today its policy recommendations on
biotechnology. The statement is a collaborative effort of Committee
members that was refined at its Nov. 28 seminar on "Biotechnology
Policies for a Better World." The statement was the culmination of
several years of an examination of the benefits of biotechnology at
The public debate about biotechnology has become increasingly
polarized and divisive. The National Policy Association's Food and
Agriculture Committee is committed to working toward finding common
ground as it advances the debate on the controversial issues
surrounding biotechnology and genetically modified agricultural
products. FAC members represent all segments of U.S. food and
agriculture -- farming, agribusinesses, universities, foundations,
and nonprofit organizations. The Committee's continued emphasis since
1943 on fostering a broad-based consensus from the diverse views of
its members has enabled the FAC to become an effective force in the
development of national policies and private sector initiatives
concerning food and agriculture.
According to the FAC statement: "Biotechnology has significant
potential to improve health and nutrition. However, a high level of
consumer skepticism exists in many societies. To overcome that
skepticism there is a need for both trustworthy regulation and
informed consumer choice on products of agricultural biotechnology.
-- Individuals need to better understand agricultural biotechnology's
potential, which includes improved health and nutrition for people in
both the developed and developing worlds.
-- Industry, media and the government need to be more active in
informing the public of this potential and should work to create an
environment in which consumers and suppliers can make a reasonably
informed choice about the use of agricultural biotechnology products.
-- Governments should move in a more timely, effective and efficient
manner to review and approve genetically enhanced products using
established regulatory procedures in order to merit confidence of
both industry and consumers. There should be a clear timeline for the
approval process, which should be thorough but not unduly burdensome.
-- Governments should implement their food regulations in a manner
that minimizes trade distortions in today's global food system. That
-- Relying on harmonized standards and regulatory processes to the
maximum extent possible;
-- Using benchmarks that are more rigorous than current
internationally recognized standards and procedures only when they
are justified by scientific evidence;
-- Establishing credible risk assessment and risk management
mechanisms, as well as reasonable tolerances for incidental
commingling. Scientific evidence of possible risks may, in some
situations, support extremely low tolerance levels, but zero
tolerance cannot be expected in any sector
-- Approving genetically enhanced products unless the submissions
required by reliable, commercially viable testing protocols are
-- Societies should support substantial investment in both public and
private research to ensure that the benefits of biotechnology reach
all. Where possible, public/private research partnerships should be
When Extremism Backfires
- Editorial, New Zealand Herald, Jan 14, 2002.
While violence against scientific experiments cannot be classed as
terrorism, it offends the same rules of civilised behaviour. New
Zealanders moved to protest against developments of any nature have
no shortage of avenues of expression. Such is the way of a democratic
society. The sabotage of genetically modified potatoes in the Crop &
Food Research complex near Christchurch is not the first such act
Those responsible for this vandalism would doubtless claim it was the
only effective way of pressing their case. There was, they would say,
no other way of protecting the environment and the public good. They
are talking nonsense. Avenues aplenty have been provided to debate
Opponents were able to voice their opinions to a royal commission,
before it reached a series of sensible conclusions. Now, case by
case, they can restate their view to the Environmental Risk
Management Authority, the body responsible for approving GM trials.
Such is the sensitivity of the issue that the legislation governing
the authority is weighted heavily in favour of public participation -
so much so that requisite public hearings can be hijacked by anti-GM
groups, protracting the application process to an unreasonable
degree. Already, the presenting of thousands of submissions to the
authority has forced Monsanto to abandon one experiment application.
The avenues of acceptable protest do not end there, of course. There
are the old standbys - demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, the lobbying
of MPs and local councils, the declaration of GM-free zones. All of
these, orchestrated effectively, place pressure on a government to
shift its position. The devastation of legitimate scientific research
is, however, beyond the pale.
Such acts of vandalism will never be acceptable. They invite only
contempt for the perpetrators, and pin the tag of extremism on their
cause. As such, they taint the efforts of those committed to
acceptable means of protest. Commitment to such avenues may win
adherents; extremism never will.
"The actions of misguided anti-GM activists in destroying laboratory
contained research at Crop and Food is exactly what the Life Sciences
Network was talking about when it described some anti-GM activists as
"eco-taleban", the Chairman of the LSN, Dr William Rolleston, said
"It's clear these people mindlessly want to impose their
fundamentalist views on the rest of New Zealand despite the findings
of the Royal Commission and the properly legally constituted approval
authorities. "Valuable research was destroyed in an act which only
can be compared with the book burnings of previous ages.
"The real risk New Zealand faces is not responsible research into GM
but the actions of activists who would destroy the possibility of
using new technologies to build a better future for New Zealanders;
their health, their environment and their economy. LSN media release
- Editorial, The Press, Christchurch, January 14, 2002
The scattered potatoes on the Lincoln greenhouse floor amount to more
than they seem. They are the remains of a terrorist attack of sorts,
and harbingers of the anti-genetic engineering campaign of direct
action that has long been promised, writes The Press, Christchurch,
in an editorial yesterday
Thursday's attack was not the first time GE trials at Lincoln have
been disrupted and it will not be the last. But it was the first such
incident since the Government set out its policy on genetic research
in October - a significant incident because it shows that the issue
remains on the nation's agenda. The official policy has failed to
moderate the anti-GE activists.
None of the various groups to which such people belong has owned up
to the Lincoln attack - understandable considering its illegality but
cowardly considering the high principles the activists claim to be
theirs. Worrying, also, in that the anonymity suggests the vandals
are intent on a continued programme of disruption.
No-one is likely to get killed in this campaign and it is footling
compared with other crime. But that does not excuse it or let it
escape its proper name - low-grade terrorism. It is wilfully
destructive; it forces its target scientists to carry out their work
behind defences; and - worst of all - it signals that its
perpetrators have abandoned dialogue and reasoned debate. This gives
a nasty tinge to the anti-GE crusade, suggesting fanaticism and
closed minds, which is strange, given the scientific basis that the
movement says justifies its stand.
Foolishly, Green MP Nandor Tanczos has come out in support of the
Lincoln saboteurs. Such direct action is justified, he says, "where
the legitimate grievances of people are not being addressed by the
Government". His advocacy is anti-democratic, justifying the
destruction of other people's property and the stifling of scientific
research. Something similar to the Tanczos doctrine lay behind Hitler
banning "Jewish science", Stalin suppressing Mendelian genetics, and
the fundamentalists who would ban the teaching of evolution.
Mr Tanczos is similarly totalitarian in his weasel words about the
Government allegedly not addressing the concerns of the anti-GE
lobby. The truth is that the Government has gone out of its way to
allow a calm airing of the issue and to take independent and expert
advice on the subject. That was what the Royal Commission was all
about, as was the moderate and restrictive GE policy adopted last
In this context, what Mr Tanczos must be taken as saying is that his
and his friends' minority views were not addressed by the Government,
and that they should prevail over majority opinion. The Green Party
should be more careful about associating itself to such
anti-democratic sentiments. It is fervent about opposing genetic
engineering, and is entitled to its opinion and its fervour. It is
also entitled to advocate and demonstrate. What is unacceptable is a
threat to ram its opinions onto the nation in the face of majority
opposition. The continuation of such totalitarian enthusiasms will
shed the Green Party of many of the liberal-minded people who at
present give it support.
The Greens are deluding themselves if they think the large number of
New Zealanders concerned about genetic modification are also
supporters of illegal protest. The Government's moderate response to
GE plainly has the support of most New Zealanders. The Wild Greens,
the youth wing of the Green Party, managed to get a mere 3000
signatures on its petition calling for direct action after the
The police should give high priority to tracking down the Lincoln
terrorists. They pose a threat to our open society and to legitimate
scientific enquiry. Arrests and exemplary court penalties would
discourage further such fanatical attacks. The way for the anti-GM
movement to win support is by argument and education, not by
destructive and intolerant actions.
Greens Denounce Anti-GM Vandalism
- National Business Review, New Zealand. Jan 14, 2002.
The backlash to the destruction of potato-growing experiments at a
government science research institute at Lincoln has forced the Green
Party to disown the perpetrators. Vandals broke into the Crop & Food
Research institute last week and smashed up a greenhouse where
experimental potato and other crops were being developed. The damage
was said to set back the research by years and reduce New Zealand's
competitive advantage in this area of plant science.
The site was first attacked in 1999 and Green activists, including MP
Nandor Tanczos, widely predicted more such attacks if the
recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification were
implemented. But adverse public reaction to the attack has forced a
rethink and has resulted in the first official reaction to last
"The Green Party wishes to make it perfectly clear that it neither
supports nor endorses in any shape or form last week's raid on
experimental GM potato crops at Lincoln", Greens co-leader Jeanette
Fitzsimons said in a statement today. "Non-violent direct action is
sometimes justified," said Ms Fitzsimons, "under conditions where the
law has failed to protect society from a potential danger and where
people have no other recourse than to take action. The UK courts have
recognised this, in releasing without penalty activists who uprooted
open-field GE crops which posed a danger to the environment and other
"However, the Lincoln crops were being grown in a contained
environment and we do not believe the action taken was either
justified or appropriate. "I am appalled that some sections of the
media have chosen to link the Greens to this action, disregarding
continued statements that we had no knowledge of the attack, that we
had no idea who was responsible and that we did not support it.
"Sections of the media appear to have confused our sympathy for the
motivation behind threats of direct action, with support for such
action. "As we have long warned, the depth of feeling in the
community at the government's failure to end the business and
scientific community's potentially disastrous liaison with
environmental release of genetic modification will inevitably result
in eruptions of popular anger against high-profile targets.
"The Green Party regrets that those responsible for the Lincoln
attack chose to direct their anger against experiments being
conducted in a contained, laboratory environment." Meanwhile, the
scientists behind the experiments have explained their work, while in
a controlled environment, was not, in fact, about producing GM crops.
Rather it was aimed at finding non-GM ways to combine two
well-established varieties to give a popular and tasty red-skinned
kind a white skin. A full roundup of press reports and industry lobby
group statements in on the Life Sciences Network website.
Biotech Helps 'Feed the World' Through Creation of Aluminum-Tolerant
- UPI, December 28, 2001
Aluminum-tolerant wheat strains that can grow in poor, acidic soils
and help feed the world's ever-growing population are being created
through the ever-evolving use of agricultural biotechnology, reports
United Press International. The researchers are breeding the wheat
conventionally but are using genetic engineering techniques to help
speed the lengthy process, scientists say.
When soil is acidic, more aluminum becomes chemically available just
below topsoil. Roots are unable to penetrate such soil and generally
wheat dies. Aluminum impairs plant growth on nearly 2.5 billion of
the world's 8 billion acres of cropland, including about 86 million
acres in the United States. One way to increase yields is to make the
soil less acidic by adding lime, but lime is expensive to transport
over long distances. "We're going rapidly from 6 billion to 9 billion
people in 40 years, according to United Nations projections. Can we
or can't we feed them?" said lead researcher Perry Gustafson, a
geneticist at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service's Plant Genetics
Research Unit in Columbia, Miss. "We'll have to depend increasingly
on acidic, high-aluminum soils. If there's any way some of that soil
can be made useful without damaging the environment, then we should
have the biotechnology to do so."
"I'm not aware of anything that likes aluminum unless it holds their
beer," Gustafson said. "Unfortunately, aluminum's one of the most
abundant metals in the world, so we have to find ways of growing
wheat in aluminum." The researchers believe that aluminum tolerance
genes borrowed from rye may prove wheat's best hope for adapting to
acidic soils. Some varieties of rye can tolerate seven times the
level of aluminum that wheat can.
The scientists are using genetic analysis techniques to find
molecular tags closely linked to the rye gene. The geneticists will
then use conventional cross-pollination techniques to impart the
aluminum tolerance trait to wheat-rye hybrids. The tags help the
researchers greatly hasten the 15-year period it normally takes to
develop a new grain variety simply by helping them make sure the
right gene made it through the transfer. Marker-assisted breeding, as
the method is called, sidesteps the genetic modification debate.
"We're confident we can get the gene into wheat within the next
year," Gustafson said. If the gene fails to work but is identifiably
present because of the tags, the geneticists will then know there are
suppression genes lurking somewhere in the wheat that turn off the
aluminum tolerance. The scientists hope the gene will work, however,
and find applications in the developing world.
"The varieties that are going to feed people in the next 15 years
have to be made today, so it's a big gamble," Gustafson said. The
scientists are collaborating with researchers in Brazil and Poland,
both nations with acidic soil. A better look at the gene may also
help scientists figure out how it works, which remains uncertain.
"The progress in Dr. Gustafson's work so far is very promising," said
Andrzej Aniol at the Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute in
Blonie, Poland. "I would like to stress the importance of Dr.
Gustafson's work for food production in tropical and subtropical
regions of the world, where the largest areas of cultivated land has
acidic and aluminum-toxic soils are and, at the same time, where the
bulk of human population increase will took place in the near future.
According to recent projections from the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations, over 90 percent of the population
increase until 2020 will be in this region.
- Channel 4 News (UK), Jan 4, 2002
(You can view the video discussion of AgBioView Contributors
Professor Anthony Trewavas from Edinburgh University and Craig Sams
of Whole Earth Foods on this site
Organic food, once touted as the key to improving dietary health, and
an antidote to unsustainable farming methods, is not living up to
it's wholesome green credentials.
A new survey reveals growing cynicism about how healthy organic food
actually is, could limit its future. Although once associated with
Birkenstocks and heavy-knit jumpers, a decade of food scares such as
Salmonella and BSE has lent credence to the organic ideal.
High profile backers, too, extolled its virtues - notably two-years
ago, when supermarket chain Iceland bought up 40 per cent of the
world's organic output. But even then the food market didn't live up
to expectations. Iceland's sales slumped and its share price halved.
And just weeks ago, veggie hangout Cranks - unable to afford central
London rents - closed all five of its stores in the capital.
Organic Food: How Healthy Is The Market? So has the glasshouse
ceiling already been reached? Although sales of organic produce
soared last year by 35 per cent - to reach £1.2billion in 2002 - its
still just 1.5 per cent of the food and drink market.
Organic Food: Is It Better For You? More telling is the trend in
attitudes. The survey shows that in 1999, 22 per cent of adults
thought organic food was better for you than their standard
equivalent. That figure dropped to 18 per cent in 2001.
Organic Food: Young People's Attitudes. And crucially, the trend is
more pronounced in young people, the consumers of the future. In 1999
20 per cent of 15 to 24 year olds thought organic food is better for
you - only 11 per cent - half - agreed in 2001.
With existing consumers faith appearing to have peaked, analysts say
a static consumer base is bad news for the organic revolution.
Perhaps the real hurdle though is price - 40 per cent of people say
the cost - often twice that of normal produce - is the most
off-putting factor concerning organic food. What do you think? Are
you convinced organic food is better for you? Join the debate in our
Europeans, Science and Technology
- European Commission, Dec 6, 2001 (via Bio-Scope.org)
Abstract: European society continues to have a positive perception of
science. But people address the concerns and scepticism about some
specific issues. The results of the Eurobarometer survey show that
Europe must invest in knowledge especially in scientific information.
Furthermore it shows that people are not confident in GMO's and wants
to be informed.
The Eurobarometer survey, requested by the Research
Directorate-General of the European Commission, offers an insight
into how European citizens view science and technology.
The main results of the Eurobarometer show that: * There is a real
gap between science and society. Two thirds of participants in the
survey think that they are badly informed on science and technology
while 45.3% declare that they are interested in the topics; * Science
remains a very positive value in our society; citizens expect a lot
from scientific progress and want political decisions to rely more on
experts' advice; * The majority of Europeans call for reinforced
control of research activities particularly in terms of consumer
protection, employment and social issues, energy and science;
* Although crises like BSE can strengthen the image and importance of
research, scientists have an ambiguous image, especially in terms of
their assumed responsibility in the misuse of their discoveries by
other people; * There is large support for European research, in
particular the need to better co-ordinate research and enlargement,
which is seen to promote the scientific potential of both the
candidate countries and the current Member States; * Finally, as
measured by this survey, the level of Europeans' scientific literacy
is stable compared with 1992 (previous survey undertaken by the
To raise the awareness and knowledge of Europe's citizens regarding
science issues, the Commission proposes in its action plan measures
(link) regarding: * Promotion of scientific education and culture; *
Bringing scientific policy closer to citizens; * A responsible
science at the heart of policy making.
In the chapter 4 concerning GMO's, the main results are that: * -
94.6% of people say they have the right to chose about GM foods * -
79.9% of people don't want his type of food * - 59.4% of people say
GMO's could have negative effects on the environment
Furthermore, Eurobarometer says that, contrary to other areas of
science, the knowledge/education factor does not make citizens more
favourable towards GMO's. "This is not true with GMO's. People
interviewed could have a high level of knowledge and still believe
that biotechnologies should be subject to more control and demand
more safety studies, etc. In this case, information is not enough and
could even be counter-productive".
The full report is available (292 Kb) as well as the main results (29
Kb).  Eurobarometer 55.2 (2001) Europeans, Science and technology.
Relevance of Genetically Modified Plants to Indian Agriculture - Book
- From: Sanjay Saxena
A book "Relevance of genetically modified plants to Indian
agriculture" has been published by TERI, which is based on four
workshops (Stakeholders' Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology:
biosafety and economic implications) on genetically modified plants
organized by TERI. It outlines the relevance of plant biotechnology
to Indian agriculture and the importance of regulatory and biosafety
issues before public acceptance of genetically modified food. It also
addresses the benefits and risks, as well as economic and
intellectual property right implications of transgenic research. The
full text of 'Introduction' chapter of this book is available on TERI
web site : http://www.teriin.org/pub/books/gmp.htm
TERI has a section on Genetically Modified Plants (GMP) on its web
site http://www.teriin.org/gmp/gmp.htm that contains information
pertaining to key issues, status, viewpoints, guidelines, and news on
genetically modified plants. Details and recommendations of
stakeholders dialogue workshops are also available on this section.
One can also participate in the ongoing debate on genetically
modified plants by joining the discussion list.
When Science Meets Politics
- Daniel S. Greenberg, Chicago Tribune, Jan 13, 2002
'Dinner at the New Gene Cafe: How Genetic Engineering Is Changing
What We Eat, How We Live, and the Global Politics of Food By Bill
Lambrecht Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 383 pages, $24.95'
As a schoolboy in Brooklyn in the 1960s, no story of science made a
deeper impression on me than the tale of Madame Curie. Even now I can
hazily recall how Marie Curie and her husband, Pierre, working in a
grim shed in France at the end of the 19th Century, sifted through
thousands of pounds of black pitchblende ore in a pioneering effort
to isolate the radioactive element radium. This was truly a story of
heroism, our teacher said, because the Curies unwittingly exposed
themselves to lethal radiation as they labored in behalf of mankind.
How romantic! I thought. How noble! If politics lurked somewhere in
the saga--even a hint of it--I don't remember it.
In truth, as schoolchildren learn soon enough, science and politics
are almost always inextricably intertwined. That's not necessarily
bad, just a fact. In the case of the Curies, a quick Internet search
shows, the Austrian government donated a ton of pitchblende in the
hope that the couple would find a use for a mineral produced as waste
by the nation's mining industry. A century later, as Congress debates
the implications of stem cell research and the mapping of the human
genome, politics and science still go together like beakers and
Two informative new books showcase this in vastly different contexts.
The one that I suspect will have far broader appeal is "Dinner at the
New Gene Cafe: How Genetic Engineering is Changing What We Eat, How
We Live, and the Global Politics Of Food." In this timely, balanced
and lively yarn, Bill Lambrecht, a Washington correspondent for the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, explores how the proliferation of
genetically altered crops in a mere five years has dramatically
reshaped politics overseas and, to a much lesser extent, in America.
I was only vaguely familiar with the term GMOs, or genetically
modified organisms, before I read Lambrecht's book; I knew that a tub
of "natural buttery spread" in my refrigerator trumpeted that it had
no GMOs. Most Americans, as Lambrecht points out, are blissfully
unaware that a quiet revolution has transformed (literally) what they
put on their dinner plates.
Consider this remarkable statistic: In the United States, the acreage
used to grow genetically modified crops has skyrocketed from zero to
more than 70 million since 1996, writes Lambrecht. More than half of
America's processed grocery products--from cornflakes to granola bars
to diet drinks--contain gene-altered ingredients. But the United
States, unlike Europe and other democratic nations, does not require
labeling of genetically modified food, so most Americans are in the
Lambrecht, who has been covering this developing technology since
1986, underscores the pervasiveness of genetically modified products
in the United States in a masterful opening chapter. He recounts
accompanying Gene Grabowski, a vice president of the Grocery
Manufacturers of America, to Camden Yards for Opening Day of the
Baltimore Orioles' 2000 season. Grabowski, the chief spokesman of the
American food industry, brushes aside concerns about GMOs, saying
that genetic engineering is "as American as the national pastime."
That's not just spin. "At Camden Yards," Lambrecht writes, "Gene
reminds me that cola and soft drinks contain high-fructose syrup made
from bulk corn that is likely to have engineered hybrids mixed in.
Dairy farmers are using a genetically engineered hormone that induces
cows to give more milk. Modified milk blends in the general supply of
the beverage that's hired wholesome hero Cal Ripken as its poster
boy. Next, barley breeders intend to use genetically engineered
varieties in beer. Scanning the patchwork of reds, yellows, and
Oriole orange worn by fans in the rows in front of us, Gene observes
that many in this crowd of 46,902 are wearing cotton from genetically
Whether this is a good thing remains to be seen. The biotechnology
industry, led by the St. Louis-based Monsanto Company, argues, not
unconvincingly, that splicing genes to make crops immune to insects
and blights has cut pesticide use. The next wave of modified crops,
scientists and industry executives say, could deliver more nutritious
food, even food that wards off disease, and reduce starvation in the
world's poorest countries.
But opponents, including environmentalists, anti-globalization
activists, foodies and celebrities such as Paul McCartney, counter
that the biotech industry is opening a Pandora's box. Genetic
engineering "takes mankind into realms that belong to God and God
alone," one of the more unlikely critics, Prince Charles of Wales,
wrote in a Daily Telegraph op-ed article in 1998. "We simply do not
know the long-term consequences for human health and the wider
environment of releasing plants bred in this way."
So far, Lambrecht notes, there's no proof that "Frankenfood," as some
detractors call it, has harmed humans. Still, critics have cause for
concern. In 2000, an alliance of environmental and consumer advocates
announced that a laboratory had detected genetically modified corn in
Taco Bell products in grocery stores. The corn had never been tested
on humans and was intended only for animals but had somehow found its
way into taco shells on supermarket shelves. Kraft Foods, the
manufacturer, recalled the products.
In addition, scientists at Cornell University in 1999 found that the
pollen of corn genetically altered to reduce the need for
insecticides paradoxically killed some monarch butterfly caterpillars
in a greenhouse experiment. The study was challenged by the
biotechnology industry, Lambrecht writes, but it galvanized anti-GMO
activists and made a martyr of the monarch, the "Bambi of the insect
world"--beloved by children, released at weddings and admired for its
remarkable, 3,000-mile migrations.
The U.S. government has embraced bioengineering, and relatively few
Americans have expressed alarm. But the technology has become a cause
celebre for the anti-globalization movement, especially in Europe.
Activists blister Monsanto as "Monsatan" and "Mutanto" and accuse the
company of putting profits ahead of public health concerns.
Why have GMOs caused a firestorm there but not in America? The
reasons range from Europe's experience with the deadly Mad Cow
Disease to different perceptions of food. "When it comes to what they
eat, Europeans are not Americans," Lambrecht writes. "On the one
hand, famine and privation remain fresh in their memories. Threaten
their food, and you threaten their survival. On the other, traditions
go centuries deeper, and growing, preparing, and enjoying food remain
active traditions in many households. Throughout much of Europe, food
is a daily sacrament."
Lambrecht--who concludes that "GMOs are here to stay, barring
unforeseen health threats"--does a terrific job humanizing this
story, interviewing farmers, activists, scientists, industry
executives and government leaders in North America, South America,
Europe, India and Africa. His book could have used more editing; at
times it reads as though he rewrote and stitched together his
newspaper reports but forgot to hide the seams. Nonetheless, this is
a fine work by a journalist who knows his subject.
Public-Private Partnerships for Tech Transfer
Anatole F. Krattiger , Public-Private Partnerships
for Efficient Proprietary Biotech Management and Transfer, and
Increased Private Sector Investments. A Briefings Paper with Six
Proposals Commissioned by UNIDO. IP Strategy Today, Vol 4, 2002
Discusses in detail technology transfer and biotechnology management,
constraints in biotechnology transfer and adoption, criteria and
priorities for new biotechnology transfer support activities, and
presents six proposals to strengthen biotechnology management and
transfer, and to bring about increased private sector investment in
agriculture in developing countries. These proposals are:
- Encourage Governments to Implement Supportive Policies - Coordinate
Biotechnology Communication at the Regional Level - Establish a
Regional Brokering Service to Strengthen Public-Private Partnerships
- Develop a Regional Biotechnology Investment Service - Create an
Integrated IP Escrow Service (Patent Pool) - Elaborate on and Develop
Initiatives for Risk Shifting.
From: "Terry Hopkin"
Subject: The Horse Has Bolted! A new fairy tale is born!
There has been in the last few months a good deal of attempted damage
control from the "Greens" of the world. With out much success, what
had been their domain, predicting doom, has been taken from them.
Global Warming, even the boogey planet Venus is not relevant any
more, because Venus has no moon, and therefore it's surface
temperature, much higher than Earth's has a totally different
causative history. With or with out all the hot house gasses Venus
would not have a climate that was in any form like that of Earth's.
No moon. no seasons, ability to flip it's axis etc, remove Venus from
the planets we can compare our planet to. Or begin to predict what
happened on Venus will happen here.
That there also has been a total ignoring of the effects of tectonic
gasses, the Earth's wobble on it's axis, the gradual increase in the
Sun's radiation (about 25% since life began), has given rise to the
newest conspiracy theory. Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory!
They are all ways of the logic: - A in restricted circumstances is
the same as B in even more restricted circumstances the same as C;-
which means A is always the same as C. WHAT?. Well the new conspiracy
theory is that we are not being told the truth about "Global
Warming", to prevent panic the Governments of the World" invented
other reasons for the present warming up of the planet, than the true
one, which is unstoppable and will of course destroy us all, unless
we get in space ships and travel to Mars. That all the "balderdash"
about man made gasses is a cover up--etc etc.
So for a growing group of loonies that once saw the Greens as
fighting for their cause, now see them as in cahoots with the World
Governments" to hide the real facts. Crazy? Never forget a large
percentage of the population belive in UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle,
and that Space Men built the pyramids, and so on and so on. So
perhaps it's hard times for the Greens. You can fool all of the
people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but not
all of the people all of the time.
Normally because some new booth has been set up and the crowd moves on.
- Fairy tales written by Terry)
From: "Adrian Picot"
Subject: Let's NOT leave science to the scientists.
Science has certainly changed since my graduate days. Then
intellectual dissent was permitted, even encouraged. Now it seems
that anyone who disagrees with Big Science is a Luddite, Terrorist or
Your journal really should stop pretending that there is no
scientific case against GM technology. Many of the best and brightest
of the last 50 years of science are against many modern
biotechniques, yet in the AgBio world view they simply don't exist,
like comrades who vanish in a retouched 1930's Politburo photograph.
We have the right to eat untampered food. AgBio seems to be arguing
for the right to prevent anyone from doing so and more or less
admitted that we are already unknowingly eating GM food - surely an
abrogation of our right to our own organics.
Also, anyone who opposes GM technology is automatically an enemy.
This is fascism, not science.
Please publish this to prove to me that you still believe in free
- Adrian Picot BSc, Auckland New Zealand
- Ron Harris, Letter, The Press Democrat, Jan 12, 2002
EDITOR: It's true that we consume genetically modified food daily. So
what? We have been doing so for a decade now and still not one person
has been harmed from it.
Nowhere does letter writer Rob Nelson ("Monsanto scheme," Jan. 7) say
what's so terrible about genetically modified foods. He also says
nothing about the benefits of those foods. Maybe he's not aware of
the fact that 100,000 children a year do not go blind now from
vitamin A deficiency, thanks to the development of a genetically
enriched rice with three times the amount of beta carotene as regular
Due to the hysteria of a small minority of people like Rob, my right
and the rights of the vast majority of people to enjoy the benefits
of genetically modified foods is being threatened. It's not enough
for them to not eat the foods themselves, but they want to prevent
the rest of us from having any as well.
I think Rob has been watching too many Frankenstein movies. A small
percentage of people had the same kind of irrational fears when
electricity came into being, too.
- Ron Harris, Windsor (Canada)
Correction: Designer Food: Mutant Harvest for Breadbasket of the World
- "Gail Short"
I would like to request a correction: In the AgBioView Weekender for
Jan. 13, there is an item about a new book "Designer Food: Mutant
Harvest for Breadbasket of the World." The author, Gregory Pence,
Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. UAB
is used on second reference. The University of Alabama is a separate,
independent campus. Your help in this matter will be greatly
Sincerely, Gail Short, University of Alabama at Birmingham , Office of Media Relations