Today in AgBioView: July 2, 2002
* Chinese Scientist Responds to 'Greenpeace' report on Bt Cotton
* AMERICAN COLLEGE OF NUTRITION STATEMENT ON CROP BIOTECHNOLOGY
* Increase in biotech crops - USDA report
* Doug Powell: Journalism, Hockey and Food Safety
* EUROPE TO AFRICA: GO AHEAD, STARVE
* More Nutritious Corn - Through A Corn Gene
* EU Parliament May Expand Biotech Food-Labeling Rules
* BLAIR ORDERS MEPS TO BLOCK STRICT LABELLING OF GM FOODS
* Harvard Conference on SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION - International
* Chinese Biotech Information Project
A brief statement on the studies of the ecological impact of Bt cotton
conducted by Dr. Kongming Wu's lab, Institute of Plant Protection, CAAS
Dr. Kongming Wu is an entomologist who has been engaged in the study of
cotton insect pests since 1985 and the ecological impact of Bt cotton
since 1996. He is a professor and director of the Department of
Agricultural Entomology, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of
Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Beijing, China; a member of the National GMO
Biosafety Committee; and Chief Scientist of the National High-Tech Program
on the ecological safety of Bt cotton in China. His laboratory is one of
four mentioned by the Greenpeace-published Report on the environmental
impact of Bt cotton in China.
The following is Kongming Wu's brief statement.
When the report ìA Summary of Research on the Environmental Impact of Bt
Cotton in Chinaî written by Prof. Dayuan Xue, Nanjing Institute of
Environmental Sciences, was published by Greenpeace in early June 2002, I
was in USA as a visiting scholar. Some friends sent me the report by
e-mail, I just read the abstract because my computer was failed to open
the PDF attachment.
After carefully reading the report when I was back to Beijing on June 21,
I amazedly found that our studies on ecological impacts of Bt cotton were
summarized incorrectly by the author. In fact, our results strongly oppose
the major conclusions in Green Peaceís report and do not support their
views. On behalf of my laboratory, I would like to make a statement for
clarification our research results.
Supported by the National High-Tech Program, the Basic Research Program
and the State Key Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of
China, and a Special Project for Development of Cotton Production from the
Ministry of Agriculture, China, a series of ecological safety studies of
Bt cotton have been conducted by the Cotton Insect Research Group,
Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
since 1995, which include efficacy of Bt cotton against Helicoverpa
armigera (CBW), field abundances of natural enemies, impacts on non-target
insect pests, arthropod community structure in the Bt cotton ecosystem,
baseline for CBW resistance to Cry1Ac protein, resistance monitoring,
selection of resistant strains of CBW and resistance inheritance,
resistance mechanisms, evaluation of natural refugia function, and the
biology of CBW in relation to resistance evolution. The major results
related to the report are listed as follows.
1. Several Bt cotton varieties, developed by the Biotechnology Research
Institute, CAAS and Monsanto Co. were evaluated for resistance to
Helicoverpa armigera during 1997-2001. The results showed that Bt cotton
possessed high levels of field-efficacy against H. armigera, with about
80-95% control in different years. In a general year of CBW occurring,
damage from CBW on cotton was controlled effectively.
2. Influences of Bt cotton planting on the population dynamics of cotton
aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover, another key insect pest of cotton in China,
were investigated during 1998-2001. The results showed that population
densities of cotton aphids were significantly higher in plots of
conventional cotton with both pyrethroid and organophosphate insecticide
applications than in Bt cotton fields because of the resistance of cotton
aphids to the majority of insecticides used for control of H. armigera and
lower densities of predators in late June and early July caused by
insecticide use. , This suggests that Bt cotton planting not only played
an important role in the control of H. armigera, but also efficiently
prevented cotton aphid resurgence that would have occurred with
insecticide applications for control of H. armigera.
3. Lygus lucorum Meyer-D¸r, Adelphocoris fasciaticollis Reuter and
Adelphocoris lineolatus (Goeze) (Hemiptera: Miridae) are important
secondary insect pests in cotton fields in northern China. The seasonal
dynamics of their mixed populations on a transgenic variety expressing the
insecticidal Bt protein Cry1Ac and a cotton line expressing the proteins
Cry1Ac and CpTI (cowpea trypsin inhibitor gene) were compared with
non-transgenic varieties from 1998 to 2001. The results indicated that
there were no significant differences between the population densities of
these bugs on unsprayed normal cotton and unsprayed transgenic cotton.
However, mirid densities on sprayed transgenic cotton were significantly
higher than those on sprayed conventional cotton because of the greater
number of insecticide applications against Helicoverpa armigera on the
4. Field abundances of insect predators on Bt cotton were evaluated in
1997-2001 at two sites in northern China. The results indicated that, in
comparison with the normal cotton plots where insecticides were regularly
used against cotton bollworm, the population densities of predators in Bt
cotton plots were significantly higher.
5. Arthropod community structure in the Bt cotton ecosystem was
investigated in 2000-2001. Three treatments, including Bt cotton (no
sprays), normal cotton (no sprays), and normal cotton (regular spraying),
were included. Arthropods were collected using a portable suction device.
The results indicated that the diversity of arthropod communities in Bt
cotton plots was higher than that in the other treatments.
6. Geographical variations in sensitivity of cotton bollworm to the Bt
protein Cry1A(c) was studied in 1997 to establish a geographical baseline
for comparing future population responses to increased use of Bt products
in agriculture in China. More than 20 bollworm populations were collected
from 5 cotton-growing regions of China, and the dose responses to Cry1A(c)
protein in terms of mortality and growth inhibition were evaluated. On the
basis of the baseline study, sensitivities of field populations of
Helicoverpa armigera to Cry1A(c) were monitored during 1998 ñ 2001. A
total of 55 strains were sampled, and most of them were collected from Bt
cotton planting regions. It was determined that the field populations
sampled during the 4 year's study were susceptible to Cry1A(c) protein,
and no development of resistance was apparent.
7. Function of natural refuge was evaluated during 1999-2001. Although
growth and development of H. armigera on Bt cotton was much slower than on
common cotton, there was still a high probability of mating between
populations from Bt cotton and other sources due to the scattered
emergence pattern of H. armigera adults, and overlap of the 2nd and 3rd
generations. In a cotton and corn growing region, early and late planted
corn provided a suitable refuge for the 3rd and 4th generations of H.
armigera, but not for the 2nd generation. In a cotton and soybean/peanut
mixed system, non-cotton crops provided a natural refuge for the 2nd to
4th generation H. armigera, but the function of the refuge was closely
depended on the proportion of Bt cotton.
Cotton bollworm is one of the most important agricultural pests in China.
Both synthetic pyrethroids and organophosphate insecticides have been used
over the past 20 years to control it. Since the late-1980s, applications
of chemical insecticides have caused a series of serious issues, such as
the insect resistance and resurgence, decrease of farmer's income,
pesticide residue and environment pollution.
By several year studies, we conclude that Bt cotton possesses a high
efficiency for control of H. armigera, and its planting in China has the
advantages of reducing the use of chemical insecticides for control of two
key insect pests, cotton bollworm and cotton aphid, which would benefit
for decreasing environmental pollution and related costs from the insect
control in cotton, prolong the useful time of pyrethroid and
organophosphate insecticides by reducing the area sprayed and frequency of
sprays, and increase the potential for natural and biological control of
cotton insect pests.
For further reading please refer to the following papers:
1. Wu, K., G. Liang & Y. Guo. 1997. Phoxim resistance of cotton bollworm
in China. J. Econ. Entomol. 90(4): 868-872.
2. Wu, K., Y. Guo & N. Lv 1999. Geographic variation in susceptibility of
Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to Bt insecticidal protein
in China. J. Econ. Entomol. 92(2): 273-278.
3. Wu, K., Y. Guo, and W. Wang. 2000. Field resistance evaluations of Bt
transgenic cotton GK series to cotton bollworm. Acta Phytophylacica
Sinica. Vol. 27(4): 317-321.
4. Liang, G., W. Tan, and Y. Guo. 2000. Study on screening and inheritance
mode of resistance to Bt transgenic cotton in cotton bollworm. Acta
Entomologica Sinica. 43(sup.): 57-62.
5. Liang, G., W. Tan, and Y. Guo. 2000. Studies on the resistance
screening and cross-resistance of cotton bollworm to Bacillus
thuringiensis. Scientia Agricultura Sinica. 33(4): 46-53
6. Wu, K. 2001. IPM in Bt cotton. In: Jia, S. et al. (Ed), Transgenic
cotton. Sciences Press, Beijing, pp. 218-224.
7. Zhang, R. K. Wu and Y. Guo. 2001. On the spatio-temporal expression of
the contents of Bt insecticidal protein and the resistance of Bt
transgenic cotton to cotton bollworm. Acta Phytophylacica Sinica. Vol.
8. Wu, K., G. Xu and Y. Guo 2001 Seasonal population dynamics of tobacco
white fly adults on cotton in northern China. Plant Protection. 27(2):
9. Liang, G., W. Tan, and Y. Guo. 2001. Comparison of some detoxification
enzyme and midgut protease activities between resistant and susceptible
cotton bollworm population to Bt. Acta Phytophylacica Sinica. Vol. 28(2):
10. Zhang Yongjun, Xu Guang, Guo Yuyuan, Wu Kongming. 2001. Analysis of
volatile components in transgenic Bt cotton and their parental varieties.
Acta Ecologica Sinica. 21(12): 2051-2056.
11. Liang, G., W. Tan, and Y. Guo. 2001. Pathological changes in midgut
tissues of cotton bollworm larvae after intaking transgenic Bt cotton.
Cotton Science. 13(3): 138-141.
12. Zhang Y., J. Yang, Y. Guo and K. Wu 2002. Study on the interactions
between exogenous Bt-ICP and cotton terpenoids chemicals. Scientia
Agricultura Sinica. 35(5): 514-519.
13. Zhang Y., J. Yang, Y. Guo, K. Wu and W. Wang. 2002. Changes of Bt-ICP
and main secondary resistant metabolites in Bt transgenic cotton after
being induced by chemical regulators. Cotton Sciences. 14(3): 131-133.
14. Wu K., Y. Guo, N. Lv, J. Greenplate and R. Deaton 2002. Resistance
monitoring of Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to Bt
insecticidal protein in China. J. Econ. Entomol. 95 (3).
15. Wu K., Y. Guo and S. Gao 2002. Evaluation of the natural refuge
function for Helicoverpa armigera (H¸bner) within Bt transgenic cotton
growing areas in north China. J. Econ. Entomol. 95 (4).
16. Wu K., W. Li, H. Feng and Y. Guo 2002. Seasonal abundance of the
mirids, Lygus lucorum and Adelphocoris spp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on Bt
cotton in northern China. Crop Protection (in press).
17. Huang M., P. Wan, K. Wu, J. Wu, X. Fan and M. LI. 2002. Resistance
evaluation of Bt transgenic cotton to cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa
armigera, in mid-Changjiang River Valley. Acta Gossypii Sinica (in press).
18. Wu K. and Y. Guo. Influences of Bt cotton planting on population
dynamics of cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover, in northern China.
Environ. Entomol.( accepted)
19. Li W., G. Ye, K. Wu, X. Wang and Y. Guo. Evaluation of the impact of
Bt/CpTI transgenic cotton and corn on the growth and development of
mulberry silkworm, Bombyx mori Linnaeus (Lepidoptera: Bombyxidae).
Scientia Agricultura Sinica. ( accepted).
Subject: My response to Green Peace's report
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 17:41:33 +0800
My laboratory is one of four mentioned by the Greenpeace-published Report
on the environmental impact of Bt cotton in China. Attached is my formal
response to the report (Above). Please transfer to anyone who is
interesting in the event.
Dr. Kongming Wu
Professor and Director of Department of
Deputy Director of State Key Laboratory for
Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests
Institute of Plant Protection
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Beijing, 100094, P. R. China
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF NUTRITION STATEMENT ON CROP BIOTECHNOLOGY
American College of Nutrition (ACN)(J. of the Am. College of Nutrition,
The American College of Nutrition is committed to the worldwide
availability of a safe, adequate and nutritious food supply. Substantial
valid scientific evidence exists establishing the safety of crops
developed via biotechnology. Numerous national and international
scientific and regulatory organizations have reviewed this evidence and
concluded that crops developed via biotechnology pose no unique safety
concerns compared to crops developed via traditional breeding. Moreover,
since the introduction seven years ago of foods containing ingredients
from crops developed via biotechnology, these crops have been widely
adopted by farmers worldwide, and have an established history of safe use
The American College of Nutrition recognizes the potential of
biotechnology to improve the size and reliability of crop yields and
encourages its use to develop crops that benefit countries of the
developing world. Wherever possible, biotechnology should be applied
responsibly to improve crops that enhance dietary diversity and thus the
nutritional value of the diet for resource poor farmers and consumers who
currently have a limited food supply. The College further supports the
application of biotechnology to enhance the nutritional quality of foods.
Increasing the levels of desirable components and prolonging food
freshness are valuable approaches to ensuring a nutritious and wholesome
food supply. In addition, biotechnology offers the possibility of removing
some anti-nutrients and allergens present in conventional crops and foods.
Moreover, the College recognizes that crops enhanced via biotechnology may
benefit the environment by reducing reliance on agricultural chemicals and
by enabling the use of more sustainable agricultural practices. Therefore,
the College supports the use of biotechnology to develop food crops that
contribute to global food security and enhance the safety and nutritional
value of the food supply. At the same time, the College encourages the
maintenance of wild-type genetic varieties and the biodiversity they
provide. Finally, the College supports the continued application of sound
scientific principles to the evaluation of these products and encourages
the nutritional science community to participate in scientifically based
evaluations of food products. The College is committed to continuing
surveillance of the scientific and safety data of individual products
developed via crop biotechnology.
The American College of Nutrition is a not-for-profit society composed of
over 1,200 professional nutritionists drawn from academia, practice, and
industry, and committed to disseminating nutrition knowledge, fostering
nutrition education, and encouraging continued research in the broad area
of nutrition. According to Dr. Stanley Wallach, Executive Director of the
College, "The College is releasing this statement at this time to coincide
with publication of the June 2002 issue of the Journal of the American
College of Nutrition (JACN), which is devoted entirely to the subject of
crop biotechnology." Wallach continued, "As the papers published in the
supplement to JACN on this topic show, the technology is being applied in
the US, Europe, Australia, Kenya and SE Asia to make foods more
nutritious, more plentiful, and to reduce use of pesticides."
Contact information for StanleyWallach, M.D., American College of
Nutrition, 300 South Duncan Avenue, Ste. 225, Clearwater, Florida, 33755.
ÝTel. 727-446-6086; Fax 727-446-6202; email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstracts of the scientific articles in JACN are available on the Web at :
Increase in biotech crops - USDA report
A new report by the United States government confirms that there has been
a definite increase in biotech crops grown in the US. The U.S. Department
of Agriculture's (USDA) report indicated that overall biotech acreage
increased 13 percent compared with 2001 planted biotech acreage.
Doug Powell: Journalism, Hockey and Food Safety
Hockey and journalism aren't usually pastimes of the ivory tower set. But
a position as science director of food safety at the University of Guelph
in Ontario, Canada hasn't stopped Doug Powell from creating and editing
four pioneering food and agriculture online newsletters and serving as an
avid youth ice hockey coach.
The ice hockey might seem a bit tangential, but for Powell, a former grade
schoolmate of Wayne Gretzky, it helps close the information loop between
science and society. All four of his daughters play hockey, and it's the
parents of other players that keep him grounded in what is important to
the general public regarding the food they eat.
As for where he picked up journalism, it started when he was editor of the
Guelph University student newspaper and continued after he earned his
Guelph undergraduate degree in 1985 in molecular biology and genetics. He
worked as a freelance writer for such outlets as Science, National Post,
Financial Times and Globe and Mail. He continued to write until he
returned to the University of Guelph in the early 1990s to pursue graduate
work on risk assessment and food safety. "I always had this desire to
combine my love of science and my love of journalism," he says.
That desire took root when the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Jack-in-the-Box
restaurants in the Pacific Northwest brought food safety to the public's
attention. Suddenly, both scientists and the public needed to be informed
about food safety, but nobody was doing it or had any idea how to do it.
At the time, e-mail was mostly found on university campuses, and not used
by most faculty members, but Powell decided to put it to use anyway.
"In those days the scientists hadn't thought about public implications,"
he recalls. But Powell had. So he started gathering news articles,
scientific papers, government reports and other communications about the
outbreak and began distributing it free of charge to anyone who wanted it.
"Before I knew it I had a list of 150 people," he says. "Nowadays it looks
really smart," he says of his invention of what is now called Food Safety
Net, also known as, FSnet. "But it just kind of evolved. It was luck."
It was also good fortune that he had the skills to gather and disseminate
the information. "I had access to journalistic tools. I thought maybe this
is a neat little risk assessment tool."
To test whether the web-based information system really helped food safety
workers, Powell conducted a study in 1995 of ten University of Guelph
students/faculty members. He created e-mail accounts for the subjects (a
rarity at the time) and sent them e-mail messages with current food safety
materials from a wide variety of sources. A year later he assessed how
well informed these people were and found the system indeed helped. By
that time, 1996, e-mail had taken off, and the world was ready for a
scaled up FSnet.
Then a colleague at Guelph asked for a similar listserv on plants-that led
to another listserv called the Agricultural Network, or Agnet. Today there
is also the Animal Network (Animalnet) and the Functional FoodNet (FFNet).
In all, the four listservs have tens of thousands of direct subscribers in
scores of countries. The free, electronic newsletters help researchers
follow risk analysis activities. They also aid in the rapid identification
of risk management issues and help the public learn the facts behind
incidents and concerns. The electronic newsletters also stimulate timely
communications between investigators and others involved in food safety
outbreaks and research.
Putting out twice-daily newsletters is a never-ending job for Powell and
his team. With just a handful of employees, the four newsletters include
information gleaned from 200 to 300 websites searched each day, including
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), New York Times, Greenpeace
and this newsletter, AgBiotech Buzz. The team also uses software to
conduct regular keyword searches. In all, the research came up with 25,000
individual items of interest last year. After weeding out redundant
articles, those with copyright restrictions and other issues, there were
12,000 articles for the four newsletters.
"Risk communication is about a diversity of viewpoints," says Powell,
which is why he includes so much material from diverse sources in the
newsletters. It also means the writers post their own opinions in weekly
opinion-editorial pieces. That practice gets them heat from all sides at
one time or another. "I get slammed all the time," he says. But he remains
optimistic about the attitude of the vast majority of people on food
safety matters. "I believe that five percent hate us and five percent love
us," he says. "I want to go for that middle that is just interested in
getting more information."
But the bottom line, he says, is that people want quality food that is
affordable. "Our mission really is to engage the public in discussion
about food and agriculture and make them more aware of the trade-offs," he
One informal way Powell checks the impact of his work is by talking to the
parents of the hockey players on his teams. Sometimes he learns a lot by
listening to parents. Then again, sometimes he only discovers how "really
dorky" he looked on the TV news the other day. Either way, "my touchstone
is the parents," he says.
For more information, visit Powell's web-based Food Safety Nework at
EDITORIAL: EUROPE TO AFRICA: GO AHEAD, STARVE
June 27, 2002, Des Moines Register (Via Agnet)
Opponents of genetically engineered foods must, according to this
editorial, feel really satisfied by a recent development in Zimbabwe. The
southern African country, in the midst of a serious drought, political
turmoil and a food shortage, rejected an American offer to send whole
grain corn. Why? Fear the shipment could contain genetically modified
grain. The problem is not Zimbabweans. The problem is Europeans. Two years
ago, Zimbabwe restricted genetically engineered foods partly because
Europeans insist imported beef and ostrich not be fed engineered grain,
the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Zimbabwe has taken U.S. corn meal and corn-soy milk worth millions of
dollars this year that was not certified as non-GMO (genetically modified
organisms), according to the Inquirer. Those goods, however, can't be
planted to grow crops.
Meanwhile, there is no proven health concern related to GMOs. There's
nothing more than the paranoia of the well-fed in developed nations. The
result is the risk that people in a developing nation will go hungry.
More Nutritious Corn - Through A Corn Gene
Content-Wire, July 1 2002 (Forwarded by Katie Thrasher of IFIC)
This time it's a GM crop with no funny business and the chickens love it
Biologists Jinsheng Lai and Joachim Messing of Rutgers University have
found a way to make corn more nutritious.
Corn is one of the major crops in the world especially in developing
countries. However, its kernels have low levels of methionine, an
essential amino acid needed in the diet. Higher levels of methionine could
provide better nutrition in the developing world and save farmers $1
billion per year in synthetic methionine supplements to corn-based feed.
Scientists have tried to raise the level of methionine in corn but Lai and
Messing have found a way. Corn already has a gene for a methionine-rich
protein called delta-zein, but its production is limited.
The Rutgers biologists discovered that another protein, Dzr1, latches on
to a sequence in the RNA bound for making delta-zein. The scientists
replaced the sequence with a code from another corn gene to prevent Dzr1
from getting the RNA and raised the production of delta-zein. Chickens fed
on this corn grew significantly faster than those fed with normal corn.
Since the technique does not add new genes, it sidesteps fears that moving
genes between unrelated species could cause unexpected toxicity or spread
genes in the wild.
Lai and Messing hope that the technique will get GM foods onto the market
where others have failed.
EU Parliament May Expand Biotech Food-Labeling Rules
BRANDON MITCHENER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, July 2, 2002 (Via Katie
BRUSSELS -- The European Parliament is bracing for a food fight over a
measure that would order that any food containing any amount of a
genetically modified ingredient be labeled. Environmentalists and consumer
groups are clamoring for a clampdown. Food processors, biotechnology
companies and the U.S. government are lobbying against the measure.
Parliament's vote Wednesday, following an open debate Tuesday likely will
mark the start of what may be a long row between environmentalists and
business interests. The European Union already has a tough labeling rule,
requiring food containing more than 1% of a genetically modified
ingredient to have a label telling consumers about the genetically
modified content. Because of the rule, many supermarkets don't sell any
products with genetically modified contents, fearing a backlash from
consumers and environmental groups who call such products "Frankenfoods."
Last month, Parliament's environment committee handed the environmentalist
camp a preliminary victory by voting narrowly to require labeling if even
0.5% of any food product contains genetically modified ingredients, and to
ban the sale of any products containing biotech ingredients not yet
approved for commercialization within the EU. The committee also voted to
require labeling of products derived from genetically modified ingredients
even if those aren't detectable in the final product, as is the case with
highly refined oils and sugars, and meat and dairy products from livestock
fed on biotech animal feed.
The European Consumers' Organization, Europe's main consumer lobby group,
called on the Parliament to implement "proper labeling" to assure consumer
confidence in the food supply. Environmentalist group Friends of the Earth
urged members of the EU assembly to confirm the committee vote. Producers
of biotech seeds and enzymes, along with some of Europe's biggest food
companies and the U.S. government, want Parliament to reverse the
committee decision and restrict labeling to products in which biotech
ingredients actually can be detected. They tout scientific evidence that
biotech foods aren't only safe to eat, but potentially even safer than
conventional foods, as well as better for the environment because they
result in sharp reductions in the use of pesticides and tilling, which
causes soil erosion.
"The lower the threshold you set, the more difficult it becomes" to keep
foods free of genetically modified ingredients, says Simon Barber,
director of the plant biotechnology unit at EuropaBio, the main biotech
lobby group in Europe.
While it is scientifically possible to detect even trace residues of
biotech ingredients in a processed food product, the environment
committee's proposals go too far, he says, saying that current EU rules
allow up to 5% conventional ingredients in organic foods as well as the
presence of corn in a shipment of soybeans. "Without a requirement to
label things you can't detect they wouldn't need the labeling directive at
all." Lobbyists from Unilever NV, Nestle SA, Kraft Foods Inc. and other
food processors say labels would stigmatize their products and confuse
consumers, leading to boycotts or negative publicity campaigns from
The U.S. government has threatened to contest any restrictive new EU rules
in the World Trade Organization as a technical barrier to trade. Richard
Phipps, principal research fellow in the agriculture department of the
University of Reading in the U.K., says that genetically modified crops
are both safer and better for the environment than their detractors care
to admit. "When people say there are no consumer benefits from this first
generation of GM crops that's absolute rubbish," he says. Lower levels of
toxins that result from pest infestations "should be of interest to a lot
of people," he says.
Moreover, in an article published in the Journal of Animal and Feed
Sciences, Mr. Phipps concluded that the growing use of biotech crops
outside Europe already resulted in dramatic reductions in the use of
pesticides and diesel fuel. If the same practices were adopted in Europe,
he estimated, the result would be a savings of 14 million kilograms of
pesticides, 20 million liters of diesel fuel and 73,000 tons of emissions
of fossil fuels, which are thought to contribute to global warming.
Write to Brandon Mitchener at email@example.com Updated July 2,
BLAIR ORDERS MEPS TO BLOCK STRICT LABELLING OF GM FOODS
The Independent (London), Wednesday, July 2, 2002
MOVES TO lay down Europe-wide rules on genetically modified (GM) food are
expected to provoke a bitter political dispute this week when the
Government urges British MEPs to block a strict new labelling regime.
The European Parliament is deeply divided over rules for GM food that
would force all products containing more than 0.5 per cent of GM organisms
(GMOs) to be labelled.
The Government has sent British MEPs a briefing note urging them to vote
against it, arguing that the issue is low on the list of consumer
priorities. The document also suggests that meat from animals fed on GM
food should not be labelled and nor should the use of processing aids
derived from GMOs. And it says British shoppers are unconcerned about
genetic modification and that "GM is very far down the list of consumer
considerations with regard to food.
"It is a tiny feature on mental maps of food issues, and does not figure
at all for some," the UK briefing says.
Britain's stance has infuriated environmental groups who say consumer
surveys consistently show overwhelming opposition to GM foods. They said
ministers were "twisting the arms" of MEPs and arguing for a "lax regime"
because of pressure from America.
Several EU member states have said they will block new licences for GMOs
until a proper regime for traceability and labelling is established.
Tomorrow's vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg is intended to
help to break Europe's deadlock on GMOs by putting in place new rules.
The European Commission had suggested that products should be able to
contain up to 1 per cent of GM material without being labelled, but the
environment committee suggested a threshold of 0.5 per cent. Britain has
led calls to reinstate the 1 per cent figure.
Adrian Bebb, biotechnology campaigner for Friends of the Earth, accused
Britain of being out of touch with the rest of Europe and said that the
Government was "in the pocket of the biotechnology industry". He said:
"Britain is acting as America's poodle. The Government is more interested
in supporting the biotechnology industry and American intensive farming
interests than British consumers and the UK food industry."
The British document argues against labelling all food from GM crops and
said only those that "actually contain GM material DNA or protein which
can be verified by testing" should be labelled.
Labour's environment spokesman in the European Parliament, David Bowe,
said he wanted a labelling system that marked out food with absolutely no
GM content. "People say that is impractical but, frankly, I dispute that,"
MEPs share joint responsibility with EU governments for passing the laws
and months might be needed to draw up a final policy.
International Conference on SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION, Emerging
International Policy Issues
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, 23-24 September 2002
Organized by the Center for International Development at Harvard
University Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the
Kennedy School of Government Asia Programs at the Center for Business and
Government at the Kennedy School of Government
In cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development, Geneva, Switzerland
With Financial Support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Asia Programs at
the Center for Business and Government at the Kennedy School of Government
Science and technology policy is emerging as one of the most important
themes in global governance. Its centrality is partly because of the
growing recognition of the role of science and technology in economic
transformation and of the emergence of new international institutions
designed to regulate technology-related affairs, such as international
trade. The role of science and technology in meeting the needs of the
developing world is also emerging as a central theme in international
public policy, as reflected in the Millennium Development Goals agreed
upon by governments at the Millennium Summit in 2000. These events have
resulted in increased interest in the role of science and technology in
To explore these issues, the Science, Technology and Innovation Program
and the Asia Programs at the Center for Business and Government at the
Kennedy School of Government will hold an international conference on
"Science, Technology and Innovation: Emerging International Policy Issues"
on September 23-24, 2002, at Harvard University. The conference is
convened in conjunction with the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asia
Programs at the Center for Business and Government at the Kennedy School
The aims of the conference will be to:
(a) explore the conceptual frontiers of the relationships between science
and technology and globalization, with particular emphasis on evolutionary
(b) examine the role of technological innovation and industrial clusters
in the competitiveness of emerging economies, with particular emphasis on
(c) identify ways of working with the private sector to ensure that new
technologies (in the fields of communications, agriculture and human
health) benefit the developing world in keeping with the Millennium
Development Goals adopted by the United Nations; and
(d) outline the elements of the emerging field of science and technology
diplomacy and outline options for improving international cooperation in
the field of science and technology.
Those interested in presenting papers at the conference or sharing their
ideas on the subject matter of the conference are invited to submit
viewpoints of less than 1,000 words to and
for consideration. The
deadline for submitting viewpoints is July 31. Viewpoints that are
accepted will be posted immediately on our viewpoints page. The papers
(5,000-8,000 words) presented at the conference in person or distributed
in absentia will be considered for publication in the International
Journal of Technology and Globalization and the International Journal of
Biotechnology. They will form part of the input into the Task Force on
Technology Transfer on the Millennium Development Goals.
For more information please contact:
Derya Honca, Center for International Development, 79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ; Telephone
617-495-1923; Fax 617-496-8753
or Brian Torpy, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs 79
JFK Street Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA
mailto:email@example.com; Telephone: 617-496-5574; Fax:
From: "David Hemming (TL, Biotech.)"
Subject: Chinese Biotech Information Project
It is widely accepted that there is a substantial body of biotechnology
research underway in China that is not reaching the rest of the world. CAB
International, the China Agricultural University and the Chinese Academy
of Agricultural Sciences are seeking to tackle this issue through a new
initiative. These organisations have collaborated to make available a
sample of papers from the Journal of Agricultural Biotechnology (a
quarterly, peer-reviewed journal). This is intended to be a first step in
building access to Chinese agbiotech information in a variety of formats.
We'd be very interested in views on this project, and how to extend it.
Nuclear transplantation from pig blastomeres Zhao Haobin, Chen Naiqing, Li
Li , Zheng Xinmin, Wei Qingxin
Construction of plant expression vectors and wheat genetic transformation
with barley yellow dwarf virus single and double coat protein genes Jia
Li, Wu Maosen, Zhang Wenwei, Xiao Hong, Cheng Zuomin)
Transfer of a lysine-rich gene into maize inbred lines and the detection
transgenic plants (Sun Xuehui, Ao Guangming, Yu Jingjuan, Zhao Qian)
Commercial implementation of intellectual property rights of Chinese
transgenic insect-resistant cotton with Bt gene and Bt+CpTI genes (Fang
Xuanjun, Cheng Daxin, Xu Jun, Xu Rongqi, Fan Tianshu)
Application and research of embryo transfer in Boer goats (Gao Zhimin, Lei
Anmin, Dou Zhongying, Fan Jingzhuang, Zhang Wanmin, Wei
Zhijie, Wang Gailan , Yi Haike, Yi Wanlin, Wan Zhonglin, He Zhaolin, Ma