Today in AgBioView: June 11, 2002:
* Phosphorus Query
* Greenpeace China Study
* Bt in China
* Greenpeace China BT "study"
* David Suzuki, No Music Lover
* Africa ëneeds GM crops to surviveí
* Cyberspace, search engines and Green propaganda
* A Conference organised by the European Science Foundation
* Biotech controversy ensnares US food donations
* PM needs to stamp on Greens
* Thirtieth Anniversary of Misguided Ban on DDT
* BIOTECH CROPS BOOST FARM INCOMES, YIELDS - US STUDY
* NORTH CENTRAL REGION TECHNICAL RESEARCH
COMMITTEE (NCR-46) ON CORN
ROOTWORMS OFFERS SUPPORT FOR A CONDITIONAL
REGISTRATION OF CORN ROOTWORM
From: "Kershen, Drew L"
Subject: Query re Phosphorous
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 15:02:51 -0500
I need to have information about published studies on transgenic
that would lower the phosphorous content of excrement (urine or
monogastic animals (i.e. primiarily chickens and hogs). I also
know the names of persons who have worked on these transgenic
(probably the same as authors of the published studies).
I also need to know about published studies, if any, on transgenic
chickens that would better utilize the (phytase?) (phytate?) in the
rations so as to have less in their excrement. I have the
accounts and the published studies about the University of Guelph
Enviropig which is for swine what I am asking about for chickens. I
need to know the names of persons who have worked on these
chickens, if any.
Finally, I also need to know about published studies, if any, on
transgenic forages (fescues, alfalfas, grasses) that better utilize
phosphorous fertilizers. I would like to know the names of the
on these transgenic forages too.
This is a very time-sensitive request. I need this information as
Thank you in advance to anyone and all who may be able to assist
Drew L. Kershen
Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law
Norman, Oklahoma 73019-5081 U.S.A.
Anyone interested in reading the original report about Bt cotton in
published by Greenpeace, can see it at:
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 11:22:30 -0500
From: "Wayne Parrott"
Subject: Re: Biodevastation Funding Exposed, Canadian Patent
Recommendation, Patrick Moore, Fields of Gold ...
>From: "parul malhotra"
>Subject: Greenpeace and China Study
>What did however concern me was the assertion that Bt cotton
>adverse impact on natural enemies of bollworm and that it
>spread of other pests. If that were to be true, that'll be enough for
>eco-warriors, right? So, we come back to the scientific validity of
>results...anything to suggest that they might be flawed? are they
As far as impact of Bt cotton on natural enemies of bollworm goes,
Greenpeace sites four separate studies to support its case. I am
very difficult time interpreting the data. None of the data have any
statistics associated with themónot even a standard error, and
there is no
description of experimental techniqueóthere is no way of telling if
trials were even replicated. Hence, there is absolutely no way to
the relevance of the data.
The first study says that ìpredator populations of ladybeetles,
and spiders in Bt cotton (were) higher than in conventional cotton
using chemicals and much lower than in conventional cotton
As far as I am concerned the only realistic comparison here is
cotton and cotton with chemicals. I am not convinced to what
any, growing nontransgenic cotton without any pesticides is
this case, Bt was better than the only other viable option.
Graph 1 is impossible to interpret. The y-axis is labeled as
number per 100 plantsî while the title for the graph is ìpopulation
dynamics of natural enemies in different cotton fields.î I have no
how they got from bollworms per 100 plants to population
In the second study, graphs show a greater presence of Microplitis
Campoletis in non Bt cotton than in ìconventionalî cotton. The
here is that it is not stated if conventional cotton uses pesticides or
not. The previous example differentiated between conventional
pesticides, and conventional cotton without pesticides.
The third study is straight-forward: ìNo obvious difference between
cotton and non Bt cotton for population of most predators, which
exception that a larger population of Propylacea japonicaî was
found in Bt
Study 4 is a laboratory study which claims that Microplitis feeding
Bt-resistant strain of bollworm showed reduced rates of
only 2 of 3 Bt varieties show this pattern. Secondly, I doubt the
reductions are statistically significant (eg, reduced cacoon rate
51.9 in one Bt variety vs 47.3 in the non-Bt). Finally, since this
resistant strain only exists in the laboratory, example 4 is
irrelevant to current field conditions. Study 4 also claims reduced
survival of ladybeetle first instar larvae, but this claim is based on
ìunpublished report.î I have no faith on any reports that have not
peer reviewed and published.
Study 4 also covers field resultsóin this case, which are said to
slight impact on the rate of parasitization of bollworm eggs.
the data, the rates were reduced from 3 to 2.63 and from 1.38 to
will be extremely surprised if these data turn out to be statistically
To conclude, I do not think any of the data even come close to
the assertion that Bt cotton is bad for predators of bollworm. Even
data did support the assertion, I will show my bias here by saying
the whole system is highly artificial anyway. If no cotton was grown,
there would be no cotton bollworm, and the predators of cotton
would starve to death anyway.
Subject: Bt in China
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 14:14:13 -0400
Re: Parul Mahotraís comment on Bt cotton having an adverse
bollwormís natural predators.
It may well be simply that, if all the bollworms are being killed by
then the natural predators might have very little to eat. It is possible
that these predators are normally present in the environment in
numbers (perhaps even less than the numbers found in Bt cotton
their population has increased in cotton monocultures because of
availability of a choice food source ñ bollworm.
It is also probably the case that if Bt cotton were replaced by
conventional cotton that farmers would have to spray insecticides
would kill all insects (some do, some donít).
From: "parul malhotra"
Subject: Greenpeace-China Study
I completely agree with your conclusions. As a journalist for an
daily with an interest in biotech, I immediately checked out the new
Chinese report and came to the same conclusions. Some stuff is
already know (abt subsequent generations losing resistance, for
other stuff in no way points to significant env damage (such as
you've pointed out). Additionally, I noted that the report was a
of 4 academic researchers' works, some of which have been
carried out in
labs and others in the field for a grand period of 1 year...not the
indicators of Bt cotton's long term performance in the field, are
newspaper's carried an editorial comment on it today "Chinese
(The Financial Express June 7) making some of these points,
of the report's Greenpeace connection. I'm also going to write a
piece wherein there's scope to make a stronger point. What did
concern me was the assertion that Bt cotton had an adverse
natural enemies of bollworm and that it encouraged the spread of
pests. If that were to be true, that'll be enough for the eco-warriors,
right? So, we come back to the scientific validity of the
results...anything to suggest that they might be flawed? are they
Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2002 13:13:12 -0400
From: "Alex Avery"
Subject: Greenpeace China BT "study"
Thank you for the reply and posting on Agbiovew. I must ask you
feel that an adverse impact on the natural predators of cotton
should be considered a "negative environmental impact"?
only reason there are any significant numbers of bollworms, and,
therefore, any significant numbers of insect predators of
because humans are growing artificially large amounts of cotton
plants--plants that wouldn't be there without human intervention.
and of itself could be considered a "negative environmental
because those fields are displacing whatever natural flora and
would grow there naturally. Those cotton fields are an artificial
agro-ecosystem. Therefore, just because we're successfully
significant pest of cotton (pests that simply wouldn't be in the
environment in any significant measure without human fields of
thus the populations of predators of the pest (populations of which
artificially high because of our human fields of cotton), we're
stopping the artificial proliferation of insects and pests that arise
because of the cotton fields. I simply can't accept that this is a
"negative environmental impact."
I'm not about to dispute the validity of the research because I think
accurate and illustrates the reason why farmers grow Bt crops.
results are positive, not negative. Unless you are a deep green
eco-activists, who often hope for crop failures and famines at the
mother nature, to reliever her of the "burden" of humanity. I'd rather
that by increasing yields on existing crop acreage and reducing the
off-farm impacts of farming (such as artificially inflated populations
crop pests and associated predatory species).
Am I making any sense?
From: "parul malhotra"
Subject: Greenpeace-China Study
Thanks very much for your insight. Ok, i did some thinking myself
receiving yr e-mail. Here's what I've come up with -- I started off by
being concerned about 2 findings of the study. One, that Bt cotton
encouraged the spread of other secondary pests, and two, that it
the natural enemies of the bollworm. I'm inclined to think that
absolutely nothing to suggest the former's an adverse env impact.
the greens ought to be relieved that Bt's not harming (only
non-target organisms. If anybody has to, it's the farmer who ought
worry abt this.
It's the latter that continues to worry me. Ok, so i gladly accept your
argument that one needs a bit of perspective here. Of course,
proliferation of insects cannot and should not be a greater env evil
say, increased chemical usage or the destruction of limited natural
resources -- all which is likely to happen if we don't use Bt cotton.
Granted. But, the fact remains that here's an instance (the
might add) of Bt cotton harming (actually harming) a non-target
Unlike the Monarch case, this one actually seems valid. Worse
cotton's harming a bug which is a natural enemy of the bollworm,
bug that Bt cotton acts against. How is that a positive result? I for
will find it hard to disagree with the greens if and when they pick
up. Am I crazy??!!
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 09:17:46 -0400
From: "Alex Avery"
Subject: Re: Greenpeace China BT "study"
If there is an artificially elevated population of a predatory insect
because of an artificially inflated population of it's prey insect -- all
because of an artificial environment full of a host crop planted by
mankind -- then effects on the predatory insect's population that
after we surpress the pest population (all because of our artificial
agro-ecosystem) should not be considered an "environmental
These population scale effects -- as a result of reduced numbers
prey insect -- is wholly different then directly toxic effects such as
those that were hypothesized might occur to the Monarch butterfly
toxic Bt pollen.
So, no I don't think you're crazy, but I don't think you are thinking far
enough back on this. The predatory insect population was only
because of our crop plantings which created the artificially high
populations of bollworms. In many respects, that artificially high
population of bollworms could be considered an environmental
(because of secondary impacts and disrupting the "natural
insect populations) and therefore, by surpressing the bollworms,
restoring the natural balance.
Am I crazy?
From: Shantu Shantharam
Here is my own review of Bt Cotton in China report published by
A Scientific Review of the "A Summary of Research On The
Impacta of Bt-Cotton in China" by Dayuan Xue, Nanjing Institute of
Environmental Sciences, The State Environmental Protection
of China, and published by Greenpeace. Disclaimers: These are
and professional opinions and do not represent the opinion of any
organization I am affiliated or employed with. I have almost fifteen
of regulatory experience with GMO, and mostly with the number
of plants that have been field tested and commercialised in the
is Bt gene expressing plants. In addition, I am a trained botanist,
microbiologist, and a molecular biologist. I have no specialized
background in entomology and training, but have acquired
knowledge thru my experience as a regulatory scientist.
1. First of all it is a summary that seems to provide the appearance
research paper, and it is not. The quality tells it all.
2. But, there are some tell tale lessons that anyone who cares to
Bt crops in the field, should take cognisance of as far as
management issues are concerned. Not that people are not
aware of it, but
this report serves to remind about it just once more.
2. The author of the report is affiliated with the Government of
and how Greenpeace is publishing his report is a big conundrum.
like to know the opinion of Government of China on this report and
that of Chinese scientists and regulatory authorities.
3. By and large, the whole report is flooded with just one season
the form of tables and graphs without any statistical analysis and
4. The report is in effect a risk assessment of Bt cotton under
conditions. It is critical that fopr any meaningful risk assessment,
author should have conducted multivariate analysis of various
before coming to any conclusion, and on that basis alone the
report is on
very weak ground to mean much.
5. It does not seem to have been peer reviewed. I say this
can one publish a scientific report in this day and age by ignoring
important publications of Carl Prey et al in SCIENCE and the a
the subject in Annual Review of Entomology (2001). Any peer
have immediately caught this. I would like to see that this report is
reviewed by at least half a dozen different varieties of scientific
experts who can check on the conclusions.
6. Some conclusions were well known to all who understated the
biology of insect resistance and insect population dynamics in
agricultural fields. Nothing-new there.
7. Most of the generalized conclusions seem to be invalid, as they
substantiated by credible data.
8. It is really hard to review a report such as this without
the raw data and also the methodology used to collect the data
out data analysis.
9. This report cannot be taken seriously, and would need
rigorous data that has statistical significance.
1. Page 3; executive summary; item 1: the two sentences
other: Item 2: Nothing new as far as the first sentence is
Cry1Ac is specific to cotton bollworm. One will have to spray
insecticides for other pests. It has never been suggested that Bt
will completely displace all chemical sprays; instead it significantly
reduces certain kinds of chemical sprays. The last sentence;
possibility in the long term, it is highly improbable in such a short
time. Hard to believe that primary pest was replaced by other pests
four years. Item 3: Pest stability is low because of the selection
pressure of Bt. There is nothing new about it. Possibility of
some other pests is higher is a mere speculation. Should be
under field conditions before coming to such conclusions. Item 4:
Development of resistance to Bt is an established scientific fact
is because of that reason there is so much scientific efforts to
the deployment of Bt crops in a manner to minimize the resistance
development. Resistance development is a dosage dependent
is well known to scientists. Item 5: Is not simply true.
claim. Item 6: Second sentence: It is not difficult to obtain high
expression in this day and age. Technologies are available and
used. It speaks to the strength of the promoter sequences. High
assumption and regulation have theoretical limits is may be true.
there are many creative ideas and designs that need to be tested
are being tested to manage insect resistance under field
Continuous progress is being made on that front. That clearly
that regulatory authorities in cooperation with scientists, extension
agents and company officials monitor the situation. I think this is
done admirably wherever Bt crops are being deployed.
2. Page 4; item 2: If Monsanto's Bt cotton occupies 65% of Bt
in China, more power to Monsanto as it is the only company that is
marketing Bt cotton in China against feeble competition from the
3. Page 5: Lat Para clearly indicates that the author of the report is
using other scientist's data (which we don't get to see throughout
report), and has used his fertile imagination run wild with his
4. Page 6: Item 1 (1): There is no obvious cause and effect
established to come to that conclusion. Graph 1 shows just one 4
data. There is no way one can come to any valid conclusions from
5. Page 7: Graph 2 once again shows just one season study. Not
6. Page 7; item (3): seems to be a positive line for Bt cotton, but no
data shown. Item (4): Hard to review without examining the raw
7. Page 8; item B: first Para, last sentence: What is meant by slight
impact? It should be insignificant impact, but once again where is
data to support it? Beet armyworm has become a serious pest in
substantiation. Are other scientists sleeping over this problem?
believe! Only 70% of the armyworm is controlled by Bt cotton. No
promised that Bt cotton would kill 100 %.
8. Page 10; item C: A statement of ingenious fact that we all
swallow. There is no data and no reference to any other
D. Bt cotton could not have anything to do with this observation.
Does not this graph show it is still better to grow Bt cotton than
cotton and also use chemical spray? Item (2) some secondary
primary pests in the absence of bollworm are simply astounding!
9. Page 6; graph 6: Again one season studies no statistical
no methodology described. Graph 6 and & look suspicious and
10. Page 12; Item C: graph belies the claim of 346% increase in
Item D: all the claims of 68.3%, 288% and 57% all seem very hard
believe. Need supporting data.
11. Page 13; graph 9: None of the graphs show any significance
based on just one season study. I cannot understand how the
come to any reasonable conclusion with that kind of meagre data.
12. Page 14; graphs 10 and 11: At best has no effect on Bt!
13. Page 15; graphs 12, 13, and 14: Also show Bt cotton in good
hard to believe in light of meagre data.
14. Page 17; item (1): the whole para is a bogus claim. It seems
author fancies the words insect diversity when in fact all that he is
talking about is simple and straightforward insect populations.
is a complex issue and I don't think any one of the field trials have
studies the insect biodiversity in all its complexity. It does not
me at all.
15. Page 18; second Para after Table 7: how long was this study
and where is the statistics?
16. Page 19; item 1: When an author says it is commonly
recognized, it is
nothing but an euphemism to cover up author's own baseless
beliefs. Common? How common? Para after graph 16. Needs
17. Page 20: first Para; second sentence: Bt pesticide>Bt
cottonÖ surprise, surprise!!!! Cross-resistance phenomenon is
known Fred Gould published it in PNAS years ago. There is
Industry is well aware of the issue and has taken enormous care
the product very ably in the USA where it has been grown for more
years and field resistance has yet been discovered in spite of
Para 2 and 3: Observations are nothing new and allow ell known.
Needlessly, it has been painted in a negative way. Item (2); first
not unexpected. Para 2: done under artificial conditions and cannot
extrapolated to field conditions at all. Observations are good, but
18. Page 21: first Para: No relevance to field conditions. Item 2:
crucial here is the design of the refuge and a white paper on the
that has been peer reviewed has been put out by EPA on its
19. Page 21; item (1) continuing on page 22 first two paras: The
is good. But, no one has ever suggested that refuge is a silver
but is an integral part of other strategies like gene stacking, high
expression, and even gene modification. What this points out to is
more reminder that companies stewarding the Bt crops under field
conditions will have to pay special attention to the problem and
practical solutions. I think companies are acutely aware of it from
day 1, and doing their best.
20. Page 20; item (3): This might as well be. No one variety of Bt
will work in all geographical locations, and companies are well
pay heed to this observation and develop suitable Bt varieties for
different agro climatic conditions.
21. Page 23; item (4): All I can say "may be"! But gene stacking
explored further to see if it is really a useful option.
Subject: David Suzuki, No Music Lover
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 11:54:29 -0400
From: "Greg Conko"
It seems that scientist-turned-activist David Suzuki knows as little
music as he does about biotechnology. In the article below, heís
saying, "If you took Bono out of U2 and stuck him in the Toronto
and said make music, noise would come out but you have no way
what it would sound like."
Of course, some readers may not appreciate the music of U2. But
broader point here is just the opposite of what Suzuki intended:
just as DNA bases are read in the same way whether they are in
bacteria, or animal cells, so is music read in the same way
whether it is
performed by a symphony orchestra or by a rock and roll band. A
gene is a
gene. And a professional musician is a professional musician.
The only question that remains is, now that Suzuki is on record
disparaging U2ís musical aptitude, can Bono be convinced to join
White House Opposes Biotech Labels
TORONTO (AP) - The Bush administration opposes the labeling of
engineered food, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy
the world's premier biotechnology industry gathering.
"Mandatory labeling will only frighten consumers," he said during a
breakfast speech Monday at the BIO 2002 conference. "Labeling
biotechnology products are unsafe."
Labeling food produced through genetic engineering is a touchy
the U.S. biotech industry, both at home and abroad. Domestically,
industry worries that labels would sour consumer demand.
Abroad, however, 19 countries require labeling and the European
since 1998 banned the sale of any new engineered products. The
angered U.S. exporters and hampered the growth of European
biotech firms. The EU is expected to consider lifting the ban later
year, but may require labeling.
Some 70 percent of the world's biotech food is grown in the United
Soy and corn genetically engineered to be pest- or
used in a wide variety of foods and drinks. The Food and Drug
Administration says the ingredients are just as safe as those
U.S. officials have said the labeling could cost U.S. companies $4
Thompson said biotechnology can lead to safer food that are
better for the
environment because of improved crop yields, among other
Critics complain that not enough testing has been done to
long-term health effects of splicing the genes of two species
"The science is so immature, we don't know what we are doing,"
genetics professor David Suzuki said at an anti-biotech rally in a
park on Sunday. If you took Bono out of U2 and stuck him in the
Symphony and said make music, noise would come out but you
have no way of
knowing what it would sound like."
Thompson on Monday also called on drug makers to lower their
promised to overhaul the approval process of the FDA.
"We are creating an FDA where risk management is the rule and
exception," he said. "You will not recognize the FDA a year from
He said the FDA currently treats all applications the same, whether
for cosmetics or lifesaving drugs.
While the FDA is streamlining its application process, Thompson
drug makers to lower the cost of their products.
"They're looked at as part of the problem instead of part of the
solution," he told a news conference. Some drugs sold in the
sell for 40 percent less in other countries, including Canada,
If drug companies don't heed the call to lower their prices, public
regulatory pressure could ultimately lead to price controls, he said.
Thompson also said that the impact on his department of
proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security have not
detailed. Bush proposed to move 300 workers, mostly involved
bioterrorism research, and $4 billion from Thompson's agency to
Thompson also said a permanent FDA chief could be nominated
"within a few
weeks." The post has been vacant since Bush's inauguration.
The Sunday Mirror
8 June, 2002
Africa ëneeds GM crops to surviveí
MANY African scientists believe genetically modified (GM) crops
only hope of avoiding mass starvation on the continent.
The claim is made in a TV programme. It says that in dozens of
countries, ìbio-technology has sparked a mood of optimismî. The
recognises the long-term fears of anti-GM campaigners, but says
dilemma is acute. And it says many people in Africa think
can offer better health and prosperity as well. The programme is
High-Tech Harvest, made by Television Trust For The Environment
is part of TVEís Earth Report series, shown on BBC World. It is
produce fruit which mature faster, give much higher yields, and are
disease-free. Dr John Wafula is director of African Biotechnology, a
consortium set up by the industry, which helped to fund the making
programme. He told TVE: ìIf you take a country like Kenya, over 80
of our people are involved in farming, and yet they cannot provide
adequate food for a population of 30 million people. ìAs an African,
crusade is to ensure that my people are not dying of starvation. If
is anything I can do to contribute, I would be very willing to do that.î
Africa can barely feed its people now, the programme says - and
its population will probably have doubled. To keep pace with
consumption, world food production ìhas to double by 2020 - an
targetî. Tests of a GM sweet potato developed by scientists in
suggest it could increase yields by up to 80%. Professor Nora
director of Kenyaís Industrial Property Office. She says: ìIf our
are hungry and there is a way of getting food produced with
are donated, then we should put those resources where they are
produce that food.î Cholera is a serious problem in South Africa,
experts say vaccinating everyone at risk would be prohibitively
The vaccineís stability depends on temperature, too, so it could be
useless before it reached people in rural areas. South African
farmers tell TVE they can increase yields using a GM variety, and
pesticide spraying. One says inhaling the spray can be fatal, and
thinks the new cotton will save lives. But Isabella Masinde of the
Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) tells the
am scared. I need more information, just like all the other farmers
Africa. ìEven the policy-makers do not have this information.
listening to debate from the developed world.î
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 10:23:05 -0500
From: "Tom DeGregori"
Subject: Cyberspace, search engines and Green propaganda
Recently, I have gone online using search engines - primarily
Google - to
research the succession of "frankenfears" that have regularly been
generated over the last decade. Much to my dismay, on topic after
when one punches in the key words, one is flooded with a variety
"green" articles. Frequently, I have had to navigate through a long
to find even one article countering them. The question that I raise
is whether anyone else has had the same