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Date:

December 19, 2002

Subject:

Hogwash, Africa's Growing Hunger, GM Yeast, Cummins, Pharming, GM in Switzer

 

Today in AgBioView: December 20, 2002:

* High-Yield Hogwash?
* Africa's growing hunger
* GM yeast provides ultimate hangover cure for wine lovers
* Reply to Denise Murphy
* Open letter
* Re: Pharming
* GM crops outdoors

http://www.cgfi.org/materials/articles/2002/dec_19_02.htm

A Seed Europe Attacks

"High-Yield Hogwash: 'Corporates' Against Organics"

A Seed Europe, an Amsterdam-based anti-globalization group, is attacking
Dr. Norman Borlaug's new Declaration in Support of Protecting Nature with
High-Yield Farming and Forestry (http://www.highyieldconservation.org) as
a corporate effort to greenwash capitalist greed. But which of the
founding signers of the Declaration is a corporate puppetmaster?

Find the Corporate Corrupters!

DR. NORMAN BORLAUG won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for breeding the
"miracle wheat" that helped prevent massive famine from engulfing most of
Asia in the 1960s. He has spent his life working for charitable
foundations aiming to prevent human misery. His success is legendary; he's
credited with saving at least a billion people from starvation. In
addition, his high-yield seeds have also spared millions of square miles
of wildlands from being plowed for additional low-yield crops. Dr. Borlaug
has never worked for a corporation.

How about OSCAR ARIAS, former president of Costa Rica, the other Nobel
Peace Prize winner who has signed the Declaration? Dr. Arias won the 1987
Nobel Peace Prize for brokering a peace settlement of the guerilla
conflicts that engulfed Central America in the 1980s. Dr. Arias is
president of Foundation Arias, an organization dedicated to peace, and
serves as an unpaid ambassador for FutureHarvest, the Third World network
of agricultural research institutes. He has received the Prize of La Paz
Martin Luther King and the Humanitarian Prize Albert Schweitzer. What
wonderful credentials for a corporate pirate!

Then there's JAMES LOVELOCK, the British chemist who authored the Gaia
Hypothesis. Is he allied with Big Chemical Companies? No such luck, A
Seed. Dr. Lovelock ginned up some inventions for the American space
program (at U.S. government expense) but he works independently, out of a
barn-turned-laboratory in West Devon, England. Incidentally, he was
awarded the very first Amsterdam Prize for the Environment in 1990.

EUGENE LAPOINTE is a world-famous conservationist. From 1982 to 1990, he
was secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species, and currently is president of the IWMC World
Conservation Trust. He spends his time trying to save endangered species,
not clipping corporate coupons.

Former U.S. SENATOR GEORGE MCGOVERN (Democrat, South Dakota), is the most
left-leaning candidate ever nominated to run for President by a major U.S.
political party (by the Democrats, in 1972). Before entering politics, he
was a professor at tiny Dakota Wesleyan College. He's recently been the
U.S. Ambassador to the UN World Food Program. A corporate raider? Hardly.

Senator RUDY BOSCHWITZ served with Senator McGovern on the Senate
Agriculture Committee when he was the Republican Senator from Minnesota.
He's at least a businessman. But it's a family business (home-improvement
stores) that also employs his four sons. Rudy is a rags-to-affluence
immigrant whose family fled from Hitler's Germany just before World War II
broke out.

DENNIS AVERY directs the non-profit Hudson Institute's Center for Global
Food Issues. He served more than 29 years as a U.S. civil service
economist, mainly with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Avery authored
Food and Fiber for the Future (1968), the report of President Lyndon
Johnson's National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber. Since joining
Hudson, He became the senior agricultural expert in the U.S. Department of
State in 1980, before Ronald Reagan was elected President. Avery's Center
has never accepted a restricted grant, and for nine of his 12 Hudson
years, he accepted no salary at all. There is no more reason to suspect
that Avery's commentaries have been "bought" than to suspect Greenpeace's
messages are affected by the corporate donations Greenpeace accepts.

Why would A Seed Europe call the Declaration signers a corporate cabal?

Is it possible they're trying to divert people from looking at the
Declaration's message? At the stark reality that the low-yield farming A
Seed's urban dissidents recommend would mean starvation for the people of
the Third World in the 21st century, even as it forced the destruction of
the world's remaining wildlands?

A Seed Europe's False Claims

A Seed says: ". . . this repeats the popular myth that production must be
increased in order to feed the world's growing population, while the
reality is that hunger is caused not because there is not enough food but
because of lack of access to it, due to poverty." (See the attack at
http://www.cgfi.org/materials/articles/2002/wactivists_dec_02.pdf.)

Certainly poverty is a problem that cannot be solved simply by increasing
food production. But before the Green Revolution, India produced less than
60 million tons of grain per year. Today, with high-yield seeds and
fertilizers, it produces more than 240 million tons of grain in an average
year, and still reportedly has more than 300 million people who cannot
afford adequate nutrition. How many more Indians would be hungry (and how
high would food prices be) if India was still producing only 60 million
tons of grain per year? Clearly, increased food production is important.

Fortunately, the past 50 years have proven that trade and technology
generate more real income gains and more nutritional gains for more people
in more countries than any other development strategy in all history. Why
is A Seed opposed to the high-yield farming and international trade that
have rescued billons of people from hunger and poverty?

A Seed Europe says: "The declaration takes no account of the unsustainable
overexploitation of natural resources" for farming and forestry. On the
contrary, before nitrogen fertilizer and high-yield seeds fostered the
Green Revolution, humanity could increase its food supply only by further
exploiting Nature. Either humans killed wild animals, or they destroyed
wildlands to expand their croplands. By 1950, we were farming half the
land on the planet not covered with deserts or glaciers. Since 1950,
however, we have roughly tripled the world's food output with virtually no
expansion in cropland.

In addition, the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America says
modern high yield farming is the most sustainable in history, especially
because of 1) its use of industrial fertilizers to replace the plant
nutrients taken from the soil by growing crops; 2) the use of integrated
pest management to minimize pest losses while also minimizing pesticide
use; and 3) the widening use of no-till farming, which builds topsoil in
the midst of high-yield food production, increases soil water retention,
and encourages subsoil microbes. (See the Society's 1995 report, Farming
for a Better Environment.)

High-yield forestry is just as important as high-yield farming to saving
wildlands. U.S. wild forests produce about 1.4 cubic meters of industrial
wood per hectare per year - but well-managed plantation forests can
produce ten or even twenty times as much wood per year. Obviously,
harvesting high yields of wood from plantation trees can relieve logging
pressure on huge tracts of the wild forests that harbor most of the
wildlife. Conservation International (based in Amsterdam) goes so far as
to demand that only plantation forests should be logged (though this
ignores the need for "management logging" to minimze forest fire losses).

Manure: The Critical Shortage

A Seed Europe reveals its awful ignorance of world agriculture most
clearly with the statement, "by no means is animal manure in short supply.
Most is not utilized in agriculture, and instead leaches phosphorus and
nitrogen into waterways, threatening wetlands, river systems and drinking
water."

This statement accurately describes only one tiny country in the world-the
Netherlands. The Dutch have chosen to take advantage of the European
Union's ill-considered farm subsidies by turning their little country into
a major meat exporter, and incidentally into a manure factory. (Singapore,
in contrast, has chosen to import its meat and export the manufactures
from clean industries.) The Netherlands imports much of the feed for its
livestock, and now finds it has no effective way to cost-effectively deal
with the manure surplus.

No other country in the world has such a manure surplus. Both the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
have estimated that America has about 28 percent of the organic biomass
needed to replenish its soil nutrients each year.

A high-level technical committee (appointed by a Danish government
sympathetic to organic) concluded in 1999 that an organic mandate would
cut the country's food production by 47 percent-because most Danish
farmland would have to be targeted for still more manure production. Most
of the land would be planted to forage crops, which would be green-chopped
and hauled to feedlot cattle, so their manure could be spread thickly over
most of the landscape. It's hard to believe that the urban Europeans who
think they favor organic farming understand this.

India and China would be devastated by organic farming mandates, for lack
of plant nutrients. M.S. Randhawa wrote in his History of Agriculture in
India (1983) that India's crops remove about 8 million tons of plant
nutrients per year, and its organic biomass resources can replace only
about 4.2 million tons. Before the adoption of industrial fertilizers,
India's soils were severely depleted, crop yields were ultra-low and the
country suffered frequent famines. India has huge herds of cattle and
buffaloes-about 300 million of them-but much of their manure is burned as
cooking fuel in the villages and a great deal is also used in making
plaster for buildings. Its crop stalks are fed to the cattle. Wood is
extremely scarce and valuable.

China's farmers have for centuries gathered virtually every bit of
available organic fertilizer for their rice paddies, including human
wastes. China does not even compost these wastes to kill bacteria, because
composting allows too much of the vital nitrogen to escape into the air.
China under Chairman Mao refused to use industrial fertilizers to feed its
expanding population, and instead told its millions of farm workers to
harvest biomass from the hillsides to mulch the rice paddies. The result
was the worst soil erosion in China's modern history, and serious
malnutrition for at least 200 million Chinese. After Mao's death, China
became (and remains) the world's largest user of industrial fertilizers.

Dr. Vaclav Smil, author of Enriching the Earth (MIT Press, 2001), notes
that humanity currently takes about 80 million tons per year of nitrogen
from the atmosphere through an industrial process. (The air around us is
78 percent N.) Replacing this N, he estimates, would require the manure
from 7-8 billion additional cattle. (The world currently has about.1.2
billion cattle and buffaloes.) Each of the additional cattle would need
from 1 to 5 hectares of forage.

America, which has 850 million hectares of land in its lower 48 States,
would need one billion additional cattle; thus it would have no room at
all for food production, forests or parks.

Europe uses slightly more N fertilizer than North America, so it would
need at least another one billion cattle-and its total land area is about
one billion hectares. Europe, like America, would have no room for food
production, forests or parks.

What about "green manure crops"? They take even more land than ruminant
animals for a given amount of N. Historically, Europe grew off-season
cover crops where it could, but produced most of its N with cattle and
sheep manure.

Should the world really take its food production policies from urban
activists who understand so little about agriculture and history?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20021219-86040808.htm

Africa's growing hunger

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
December 19, 2002
By Danna Harman

BOSTON ˇ The Liberty Grace set sail from Louisiana on a hot, sticky
evening in late August. Capt. John Codispoti and his crew steered
downriver to the mouth of the Mississippi River, across the Gulf of
Mexico, and in the early hours of Sept. 3, reached the open ocean and
turned toward Africa.

On board, sealed in six cavernous holds, were 50,000 tons of yellow corn
kernels ˇ a small part of the U.S. government's donation to an
international emergency effort to help 14.5 million men, women and
children facing hunger in six southern African countries. In the past few
months, the consignment of corn traveled from Midwestern farms to the
ports of East Africa, where it was unloaded and bagged. It will be piled
high onto trains and trucks, and hauled to warehouses scattered across the
region. And it will be balanced on heads and dragged in carts to the huts
of the hungry.

But along its journey, this corn will encounter many of the continent's
problems, both old and new: corruption, Western trade barriers and
subsidies, concerns about genetic modification and AIDS. It is these
problems, more than just the drought, that are at the heart of Africa's
growing hunger.

The solutions to the African hunger crisis are as complicated as the
problems. The challenge for the six countries ˇ Malawi, Mozambique,
Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland ˇ is not just to get through the
immediate food shortage, but also to find ways to keep the problem from
happening again next year.

"This is not the same old story. There are deep-rooted problems in the
region," said Tim Osborne, Malawi country director of CARE, an
Atlanta-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) that helps fight global
poverty. "Various factors have combined to make the populations so
vulnerable that they cannot cope with any new crisis. This is an emergency
all right ˇ a long-term emergency."

The handbag factory

Moreblessing Tigre stands guard at a small grain warehouse on the
outskirts of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, jiggling her ring of keys. She is the
senior logistics officer and takes her job very seriously.

Back in June, World Vision, another NGO, rented an old handbag factory and
transformed it into a warehouse for emergency food aid. Today, the rooms
are filled with hundreds of bags of corn from the United States, ready to
be put on trucks and sent to distribution centers scattered around these
barren plains. Mrs. Tigre is in charge.

About 6.7 million Zimbabweans ˇ about half the population ˇ are facing
hunger and depending on food aid to get them through the coming months,
according to the World Food Program (WFP).

When the warehouse is emptied, Mrs. Tigre explains, pushing back her thick
glasses and pulling her hair into a bun, new truckloads of corn are
supposed to come in. Part of the consignment on board the Liberty Grace
will soon make its way here.

"I am so busy moving the corn in and out that I really have no idea where
it comes from," Mrs. Tigre said. "To be honest, I don't much mind. As long
as enough gets here on time. That's good. That's a start."

A start, but not an end. Because in Zimbabwe, as in other countries, even
when the corn arrives at the warehouses and is sent to distribution
centers, there is no guarantee that the neediest will receive it. Here,
the problem is government mismanagement and corruption.

"There is no doubt that the developing famine in Zimbabwe is rooted in bad
governance and corrupt practices," said John Prendergast, Africa director
at the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.

As elsewhere in the region, there has been a drought in Zimbabwe. But in
years past, Zimbabwe was able to sustain itself though similar drought
periods, and even continue exporting to its neighbors.

This year has been a different story. President Robert Mugabe's
land-reform policy ˇ taking land from minority white farmers and giving it
to the landless black majority ˇ has crippled the commercial farm sector.

'That's the way life goes'

For Mildred Rashal, this has been a good year. Her restaurant, Taks Tenth
Avenue, in downtown Bulawayo, is packed every day with the city's bigwigs.

"People are moving into new opportunities. There is a lot of money
floating around," she said, touching up her lipstick. Outside, a long line
of Zimbabweans queue for bread. They have been there since dawn. Mrs.
Rashal pays them no attention.

Because Mrs. Rashal's father was a politician, she grew up in the suburbs
and had more money than most other black girls in town. She was the first
nonwhite to attend the neighborhood private school.

"I was not accepted," she said matter-of-factly. "Sometimes one of the
girls would bring back lollipops from vacation in South Africa. There were
30 of us in the class and she would bring back 29. Nothing for me."

Mrs. Rashal leans forward. "That was then ˇ and this is now," she said
slowly. "That's the way life goes. It's not about revenge. It's just a
cycle. We have reclaimed what is ours."

What black Zimbabweans have reclaimed is land. Mr. Mugabe's fast-track
land-reform policies were intended to redress the imbalance in land
ownership and wealth in Zimbabwe by transferring farms from the minority
white commercial farmers ˇ who held vast tracts of fertile land and
produced more than 80 percent of the country's food ˇ to the majority
landless blacks.

But in practice, during the past two years, many of these farms were
handed over to wealthy Zimbabweans connected to the government, like Mrs.
Rashal's family, who have little interest in farming. In other cases, the
landless were trucked in to squat on these farms, but were not provided
the tools, seeds or know-how needed to tend them properly.

The former breadbasket of the region can no longer support even itself.

Now, the continuation of bad governmental practices is making it hard for
international aid organizations to remedy the food problem.

Mr. Mugabe's government banned private food imports late last year. The
government-run grain marketing board, which is managed by top military and
intelligence officials, was given control over imports, allowing many of
them to make a profit from the resale of food at exorbitant prices.

Worse yet, there are charges that food distribution is being politicized,
with aid organizations being steered toward certain areas. The government
denies these charges, but several aid organization officials, speaking on
the condition of anonymity, confirm this takes place.

In October, the WFP officially suspended the distribution of relief
supplies in a district of southwestern Zimbabwe, charging that Mr.
Mugabe's party was interfering with distributions by seizing food aid and
intimidating workers.

"Relief food distributions are not the place for any kind of political
activity," said a WFP statement. "WFP will only distribute its food on the
basis of need without regard to partisan affiliation."

"This is not a black-white issue, although it is portrayed this way," said
Zimbabwean economist Erich Bloch, a vocal critic of the government.

"This is about destroying the economy and hurting the poorest of the poor
ˇ all blacks ˇ for the sake of the rich and powerful. The next six months
will be the worst this country has ever seen, and the region will suffer
for our suffering as well."

Foosball with unripe berries

On the old road leading from Dete to Binga, in the northwest part of
Zimbabwe, there is a little village with no name. People here are feeling
the effects of food politics.

Only two children in this village attend school. The rest, barefoot and
half naked, hang around all day by the rusting foosball machine, using
unripe berries as the game balls when they get up enough energy for a
match.

This area should be getting food shipments from Bulawayo, but no trucks
have come this way. In the town of Binga, the nearest center, an attempt
at distributing food a few months ago was stopped when war veterans from a
different area came in and claimed the food, according to eyewitnesses.

"We all went and voted for [the opposition party Movement for Democratic
Change] in the elections, but we did not succeed," said villager Matias
Muleya. "So now other regions get aid, but the government doesn't let the
food come here."

Back at Taks restaurant, Mrs. Rashal rushes so she can pick up her son
from cricket practice. One of the World Vision trucks, stacked high with
bags of corn, passes. Mrs. Rashal does not seem to notice.

"I'm running a business. I don't really care about hunger issues," she
said. "I have my connections. I phone this one, that one ˇ get what I
need. It's not that I don't care. It's just, well, what could I do to
help? I have nothing to do with the weather."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

GM yeast provides ultimate hangover cure for wine lovers

The Independent
December 19, 2002

[NOTE: While hangover free wine sounds wonderful, it should be noted that,
as far as I know, genetically modified yeasts have been used for years in
wine production without causing "consumer resistance to gene technology."
The same can be said about the genetically modified enzymes used to make
cheese -- even in Europe! -- CSP]

GENETICALLY MODIFIED yeast added to wine could stop hangovers, researchers
said yesterday. In what may become a wine drinkers' dream, the addition of
GM yeast may also improve flavour. Yet it is unlikely to become reality
because of consumer resistance to gene technology.

Molecular biologists have been experimenting with ways to give a better
and different flavour to wine, to remove nasty after-tastes and to enhance
body to the most basic vintage.

However, wine-makers do not want to be associated with GM because of the
negative image it has among consumers, researchers say in the latest
edition of the New Scientist.

Despite their opinions of GM, wine-makers are said to be interested in the
possibility of genetic engineering to improve vines. But the biggest
potential could be in the yeast. Traditional wine-makers rely on natural
yeasts that grow on grape skin, but GM yeasts would be more reliable by
helping to improve the sugar-acid balance and body of the wine.

Florian Bauer, from the Institute of Wine Biotechnology at Stellenbosch
University in South Africa, said GM wines could also reduce illness the
morning after as most hangovers were not due to alcohol alone. Neurotoxic
amines and sulphur dioxide in wine also contribute to hangovers, so
commercial yeasts that produce relatively harmless anti-microbials could
help to prevent heavy heads. Despite consumer doubts about GM products,
the dilemma could be resolved if wine made with GM yeasts does not contain
any yeast DNA, meaning that technically it is not GM. Products such as
cheese already use a technique similar to this.

But European Union rules state that cheese does not have to be labelled
because the GM element is a "processing aid" with no trace in the final
product. The same regulations would not apply to wine because it may
retain some yeast cells.

The likelihood of seeing GM wines on supermarket shelves remains low, with
every researcher contacted by the New Scientist saying there were no plans
to put GM products into commercial wine-making.

But scientists could use GM yeasts as models which can be experimented
with to make the same changes without using GM technology.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 16:09:21 -0500
From: "jcummins"
Subject: reply to Denise Murphy

Following Stanley Ewan's comments on the safety of CaMV promoter a number
of plant genetic engineering "authorities" have rebutted Ewan's comments
by a bizarre comments to the effect that the CaMV promoter in the CaM
virus is a safe and probably nutritious food because virus infected
cauliflower are a popular food in UK and cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli
are believed to be anti-cancer foods. Such comments seem to be crude
efforts at obfuscation.

The CaM virus never integrated into the DNA of the chromosome and it is
circular. The virus replicates from RNA copies in the cytoplasm to make
protein bound virus particles in the plant cell cytoplasm. In contrast the
CaMV promoter used in most genetic constructions is integrated into the
chromosome from a bacterial plasmid and its neighboring genes are most
frequently synthetic transgenes along with the bacterial sequences.The
CaMV promoter in the chromosome is a hot spot for genetic recombination (
presumably a consequence of transcription related recombination and
mutation). It is not reasonable and certainly not good science to claim
the eating CaM virus is equivalent to eating the viral promoter inserted
into the plant chromosome chromosome. What should have been done , prior
to the extensive release of GM crops with CaMV promoter was to study
ingestion of the CaMV promoter DNA in the configuration with which it is
used in GM crops. Finally, Denise Murphy seems to have put together a
story on the nice features of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower that is
totally unrelated to the real issues of CaMV promoter use in GM crops. Of
course the whole story may be a dry satire, like a Monty Python sketch?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From: "Samuel Avendano"
Subject: Open letter
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 12:55:32 -0500

Open letter to AgBioView readers: Bt. Cotton (a transformed gene to
control bollworm) in India a deception? In last week edition an Agri.
newspaper in Qu╚bec (published in French) quoted the following: "approved
in march 2002, by the Environment minister of India; the first commercial
Bt cotton clearly led to lower yields than those announced By Monsanto. In
the state of Madya Pradesh some farmers lost the entire crop". According
with the tabloid the Bt. cotton was not only heavily damaged by root-rot
diseases but also showed more susceptibility to drought than the non Bt.
cotton

From the rest of the report, I drew the following points which I write
below (followed by --) to bring about others views:

1. The Indian National Association of Farmers is now wondering about the
certainty of the efficacy of Bt. cotton in their soils: "several
irregularities characterized trials done in 1998", cited the paper from
the Indian Foundation of Research, Technology and Ecology.

-- However I learned from, Rautenberg (1) that the approval of Bt. cotton
in India was after three year test phase with more than 100 field trials.

2. Resistance in the bollworm have already been developed in Australia and
in USA. This resistance, affirms the source, could developed faster in
India's fields where farmers don't know the refuge technology or can't
afford assigning a % of their surface to non Bt. cotton given the small
area they own?

-- However I learned from the sending of Andrew Apel (2) that the
condition on keeping a refuge of non-Bt. cotton was generally observed by
an independent monitoring team. Besides yesterday's sendings of AgBioView
include D. Satapthy (3) who cited the following statement from C. S.
Prakash: The United states has been growing Bt. Cotton for the past seven
years and not a single bollworm has adapted to it.

3. The presence of an illegal network of seed vendors, before the
approval, in India, of the genetically modified cotton, contributed to the
losses. The illicitors obtained the seed from fields where the trials were
carried out. Probably the seed was not of good quality.

-- However, I read in Rautenberg that the seed was distributed by a joint
venture between Monsanto and the Indian seed company Mahyco.

To finish, I should clarify that in this region ( around the 46 LN and 75
LW) there is not cotton cultivation. However, even though the writer
doesn't openly attack the DNAr technology his article might bring
negatively confusion or deny the recognition of the goodness of biotech in
agriculture. If that could be the case, then it might be disappointing for
developing countries in Central America where the crop (non Bt) has almost
disappear not only because yields have been going down( less rainfall) but
also because the production cost are too high given the numerous pesticide
applications for the contention of aphids, white fly, boll weevil,
cutworm, corn worm and bollworm.

I'll be looking for comments. ThanksÍ..

Samuel Avendano

1. Bt Cotton-Hope for India's Farmers, O. Rautenber in
http://www.agbioworld.org, Dec. 12, 2002
2. India: Bt Cotton Found Satisfactory, Government Tells Parliament (sent
by Andrew Apel) in http://www.agbioworld.org, Dec. 15, 2002
3. The Biotech Debate. D. Satapathy. Span (India), Nov. Dec. 2002. p.49 in
http://www.agbioworld.org, Dec. 18, 2002
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 13:28:09 -0400
From: "Bob MacGregor"
Subject: Re: Pharming

The last paragraph of the article from the Atlanta Journal and
Constitution about pharming using transgenic food crops said, "But Allison
Snow, a biology professor at Ohio State University, said it is not
practical to try to prevent escape of foreign genes from engineered food
crops grown on a commercial scale. 'I recommend that we separate the food
crops from the pharmaceutical crops,' she said, 'and do not use the same
species for both.'"

It seems to me that this caveat would need to be expanded to include the
LAND itself, not just the crops. After all, it was the corn/soybean
rotation that resulted in traces of modified corn stalks showing up in
harvested soybeans in the recent Prodigene fiasco. This implies that ANY
pharming crop grown in rotation with a food crop might run the risk of
leaving residues from volunteer plants (other means) in the following
year's conventional crop. There are likely genetic or biotechnological
solutions to the pollen spread issue, but casual or mechanical cross
contamination may be more difficult to address. I am hopeful that these
crops will be so valuable that more complicated land management
arrangements (eg dedicated plots, extended rotations, deliberate intercrop
fallow cycles, etc.) will be economically justified. Otherwise, this
promising approach will likely never make it out of confinement (ie
greenhouses)-- a much more expensive and limiting production model than
open-field production.

BOB
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/Swissinfo.html?siteSect=113&sid=1529637

GM crops outdoors

December 20, 2002

The Swiss environment agency has given the green light for outdoor tests
of genetically-modified wheat.

However, the agency imposed a series of safety conditions for such trials
which will be carried out by scientists at Zurich's Federal Institute of
Technology.

The move comes after the environment minister, Moritz Leuenberger, in
September ordered a review of an initial decision, saying such tests were
in line with current laws.

The agency last year rejected a request from scientists to grow GM crops
outdoors.