Today in AgBioView: October 28, 2003:
* Comments on British Farm Scale Trials by an UK Ecologist
* NBC Today Show: Genetically Modified Foods
* Sustainable Farming Needs Bioengineering
* On DNA "Instability" In Genome
* Educate People In Biotech, Says an African Minister
* Targeting 'Deadly' Trans Fat in Foods Could Yield Healthier Oils
* India May OK Ten More GMO Bt Cotton Varieties In 2 Years
* Global Biotechnology Forum
* Structure of Scientific Revolutions - by Thomas Kuhn
Comments on British Farm Scale Trials by an UK Ecologist
- Name withheld by request, Oct. 28, 2003. AgBioView,
In my opinion broadsheet media coverage of the FSE was quite good. I
thought the FT was excellent and the Independent surprisingly balanced.
The New Scientist this week was truly wonderful. The tabloids did what
tabloids do - I was pretty well inured to getting sensationalist headlines
from them, but that is expected.
I think the response of you biotechnologists to the FSE results is
critical in the coming weeks. I personally do not think the line that I
have heard expressed which could be summarised as: 'farmers need to kill
as many weeds as possible and what's wrong with that because that is what
herbicides are designed to do?' is the right strategy. For one thing, it
does not appreciate the difference between the countryside of North
America and that of the Great Britain. I think instead, that the
following response would be more effective in the long-term.
1) The FSE has confirmed that the management systems for herbicides and
HT in particular are flexible.
2) For conventional farming, management systems have already been devised
that allow weeds and biodiversity to flourish and that can halt the
decline of abundances reported recently (I am thinking of Integrated
Farming Systems, Stoate & Leak's report of the Loddington Farm work, Game
Conservancy's work especially Conservation Headlands, managed set aside,
game cover crops, etc.)
3) For GMHT these systems could be adapted to give a positive increase in
biodiversity, as the Brooms Barn work has begun to show (I do not claim
the BB study provided sufficient knockdown proof, but the indications are
positive). It will be necessary to do further research to find the best
balance between productivity and biodiversity.
4) There may be a yield penalty to pay but that might not be great.
Although it would be necessary to use GMHT systems with restrictions to
achieve this desired increase in biodiversity, it is probably economically
Many of these ideas have already been promulgated by workers such as
Professor Tony Trewavas FRS FRSE and Professor John Pidgeon. They
represent an evidence-based approach and the best pragmatic way for
biotechnologists of answering the questions about harm to biodiversity
(i.e. harm to the environment) that might otherwise present a bar to
Of course, there are other problems such as contamination and liability
but the FSE did not address these. Importantly, such an approach would
get the biotechnologists and the agro-ecologists working together, on
something everyone could buy into. When biotechnologists rightly bemoan
the loss of jobs in the UK, perhaps they should not forget the huge losses
in posts that whole-organism biology/ecology has suffered over the last 20
years in the face of corresponding increases in numbers of their molecular
It would help their own cause if more biotechnologists read and understood
the large literature on agro-ecology, and began to take it more
Today Show: Genetically Modified Foods
- NBC-TV, Oct. 27, 2003
KATIE COURIC: And this morning we begin a series, a new series weāre
calling Eat Smart Today, Whatās in Our Food? We begin with a look at
genetically modified foods. Just what are they? And should you be eating
Some answers from NBCās Robert Hager.
ROBERT HAGER: The corn harvested this crisp autumn day on Bill Oltoffās
(sp) farm is genetically modified like one-third of the U.S. corn crop
now. A single gene borrowed from a bacteria of all things helps corn
resist insects. And two-thirds of soybeans now have a gene to make them
tolerate weed killers. In fact, 70 percent of whatās in stores may now
have genetically manipulated ingredients.
Soft drinks that have corn syrup sweetener, crackers made with corn or soy
oil, cereals, margarine, ice cream and almost everything processed in cans
or packages. And at labs like this at the University of Illinois,
scientists are splicing genes to create other foods for the future.
SCHUYLER KORBAN [Professor, University of Illinois]: We have the ability
to improve the nutrition. We improved the quality of the food and also the
amount of food that weāre consuming in a smart fashion.
HAGER: Combing tomatoes with more cancer-fighting lycopene, maybe onions
that are tear-free. One firm has already applied for permission to modify
salmon to grow faster. But while thereās never been any conclusive
scientific proof that any of this is harmful, there are others who worry
that we could be creating ćFranken foodsä that could prove dangerous to
health, or at least on the environment wreak havoc on existing species.
Minneapolis consumer Corey Brinkema (sp) is among those who worry. COREY
BRINKEMA [Consumer]: Thereās not enough science behind this whole thing.
HAGER: But unless food is labeled 100 percent organic, you usually canāt
tell if itās genetically modified. In Europe where thereās widespread
opposition to genetic meddling, strict labeling will be required next
year, but not in the U.S. because the food industry fears labeling here
could fire up similar opposition.
So for now the U.S. government has cut agribusiness a break. Thereās no
labeling required and those consumers who want to know can only guess.
COURIC: Lisa Katic is a spokesperson for the Biotechnology Industry
Organization and Mark Lappe is the author of Against the Grain
Biotechnology and the Takeover of Your Foods. Gee, I think I can figure
out where you each stand on the issue. Thanks so much for being here.
Lisa, letās start with you. I know Grocery Manufacturers of America
estimate that 70 to 75 percent of processed foods contain biotech
ingredients. So why not label foods that have been genetically modified so
consumers can know just what theyāre getting?
LISA KATIC [Biotechnology Industry Organization]: Well, thatās an
important question, Katie, and actually FDA has a labeling policy that is
based on the fact that the foods derived from biotechnology are, in
essence, the very same as their traditional counterparts. If you put a
label on a food that says itās derived from biotech, we know that
consumers tend to look at that food differently, sometimes in fact it
poses a warning to a consumer. So no manufacturer really wants to put that
kind of a statement on their food product that will differentiate them
more negatively than their competitor.
COURIC: But shouldnāt there be truth in advertising no matter what
consumers feel? I mean donāt they have an obligation to say this is the
genetically modified product and let the chips fall where they may?
KATIC: Well, I mean thereās no difference in the product. These products
are safe. Theyāre the same. FDA has deemed them to be safe and the same,
so, therefore, thereās no need to label unless there is something
different or changed in the food.
COURIC: Mark Lappe, you disagree. You think they should be labeled and
youāre angry that the FDA hasnāt gotten more involved in this.
MARK LAPPE [Author, Against The Grain]: Yes, I am. Iām trained both as a
scientist and an ethicist. From an ethical point of view youāre absolutely
right, consumers have a mandate from the FDA to know what is in their
products. If these products were strictly identical, I think Lisaās point
would be well taken, but theyāre not. There are subtle differences. There
are no proteins in the food. There are things that people should be
concerned about. They should have a right to have an exit from the system
if they would like. They should know whatās in the food and if they are as
good as they say they are, GMOs would be an imprimatur of success, not
COURIC: In fact, why Lisa havenāt there been long-term studies about the
potential adverse effects of genetically modified food on oneās personal
health or on their system? There really hasnāt been anything like that,
KATIC: Actually, thereās been hundreds of studies, Katie, on this
technology. As a matter of fact, weāve benefited tremendously from this
technology in the United States already. Weāve seen 14 billion more pounds
of food grown annually. Farm income has increased by $2.5 billion. And
more importantly to consumers, pesticide use has decreased by 163 million
pounds annually on our crops.
COURIC: What about in terms of the impact though on your personal health?
Obviously, crop yields -- thatās a good thing because you can feed more
people. No use of pesticide or reduced use of pesticides is a good thing.
But what about actually ingesting it? And what kind of impact it might
have on long-term health concerns?
KATIC: Well, these are foods. I mean weāve had these foods in the food
supply for 20 years. Not one report of any case of an ill effect has
resulted from eating these foods.
COURIC: In fact, Mark Lappe, it does sound like they have some advantages.
You know, there are a lot of people starving in this world. If it can
increase crop yields dramatically and feed far more people and as Lisa
says there have been studies and itās reducing the use of pesticides,
isnāt that a positive thing?
LAPPE: Youād think so, but thereās some hidden risks involved here. The
reduction in use of pesticides is preferential. Itās mostly on cotton.
Itās a trade off because the plants themselves now have pesticides in them
in some cases. Those pesticides have new proteins that are in the food,
not outside the food where they can be washed off. Some of those new
proteins can be allergenic, and, in contrast to what Lisa says, there have
been episodes of contamination particularly with foods intended for animal
feed that ended up in the human diet, created the risk of an allergenic
reaction. This was the Starling episode of three years ago and we found
that 350 foods were contaminated with the food intended solely for animal
use. And we had 49 reports of allergic reactions.
COURIC: So what is your biggest concern about what genetically modified
foods may mean for our long-term health?
LAPPE: Our biggest concern is that no one is taking the long view, that
weāre not seeing the enormous impact that this wholesale transformation of
agriculture is having on the environment. That weāre not seeing the
decimation in animal life at the fringes and weāre not seeing how
cross-contamination is spreading genes that we no longer have any control
over into crops that they were never intended to be in.
COURIC: Lisa, why donāt you respond?
KATIC: Well, again, we have a long-term history with this. Weāve had the
Food and Drug Administration behind this technology. If you donāt care for
that, the American Medical Association has made statements to its safety.
Beyond the United States, the World Health Organization and the Food and
Agricultural Organization have also looked at this technology and said
that itās safe. Thereās really nothing to worry about. Weāve been
modifying foods for 100 years. This is one more step in that process.
Sustainable Farming Needs Bioengineering
- L. David Peters, Yale Daily News, Oct. 27, 2003
The recent discussion surrounding Berkeley dining hall begs a larger
debate about sustainable food at Yale and "sustainable agriculture" in
general. The food purchased by Berkeley, farmed using organic methods, is
supposedly more Earth-friendly than the food served elsewhere on campus.
But in pushing the theory that organic farming is the solution to
humanity's agricultural problems, proponents of those methods have blinded
the public and Yale's administration to both the disadvantages of organic
techniques and the viable alternative; though organic farming can be less
damaging than chemical-intensive industrial agriculture, it has three
First, organic farms require the use of manure as fertilizer. Implemented
on the scale necessary to feed 250 million Americans, manure fertilizer --
and associated biotoxins -- would pose a significant public health
problem. E. coli is a danger when it taints our (organically farmed)
strawberries; imagine what would happen if it tainted our water supply.
Any complete transition to organic farming would result in high levels of
biologically hazardous runoff pollution from manure, as well as the
peripheral pollution involved in its transportation.
The second major problem with organic farming is that it is
till-intensive: without herbicides, tilling is the only way to remove
weeds. The impact of tilling on cultivated land is perhaps humanity's
oldest environmental problem. Tilling disrupts topsoil, making it
incredibly susceptible to erosion. The regular churning of soil also
releases greenhouse gas; tilling is a major component of agricultural
pollution. More importantly, tilling devastates the ecological fabric of
topsoil, displacing organisms -- like earthworms -- which bring about
natural soil rejuvenation. Farming of any kind taxes the land, and the
impact of tilling has been a fundamental human problem for millennia. It
is the impetus for the "fallow field" and rotating-crop methods which
stretch back to the Old Testament. These methods, however, are imperfect
-- over the long run, organic methods slowly deplete formerly fertile
Finally, one should realize that more than 38 percent of the world's land
area is already cropland or pasture. As world populations continue to
expand, and as the global standard of living rises, the demand for food --
and for cultivated area -- will only increase. Organic farming only
exacerbates this problem because the yield of organically farmed land is
far lower than that of land farmed using modern methods, particularly
since organic guidelines prohibit bioengineered crops. If we allow organic
fields to lay fallow and regenerate -- as we must to combat erosion and
nutrient loss -- the yield is lower still. According to a United Nations
commissioned report on world resources, we lose 33.8 million acres of
rainforest each year to human cultivation -- not to mention the millions
of acres of other forms of wilderness. If the goal is to preserve our
natural resources, balance the global ecosystem, and feed a numerically
burgeoning humanity, then organic farming is the very antithesis of
What solutions, then, exist to the problem? The answer is not the factory
farm as it exists today. The chemicals necessarily employed in industrial
agriculture pollute the environment, place on undue burden on natural
resources, and are harmful to farmers' health; sustainability advocates
are right in rejecting it. Speaking as both a pragmatist and an
environmentalist, there is only one solution to our current agricultural
We must embrace biotechnology and bioengineered foods; they are the crux
of a modern sustainability. Writer Jonathan Rauch, in an October Atlantic
Monthly article, cites a variety of miraculous success stories, all of
which center around genetically engineered food crops. One such example is
the case of salty soil. Irrigation, an almost universal necessity in
agriculture, slowly raises the salinity of fields. This is no small
problem. Every year, nearly 25 million acres are lost to salt -- or 25
million more acres of wilderness are cut down for farming. Scientists have
recently developed a transgenic tomato plant which not only can grow in
briny soil -- soil with a salt content 50 times higher than tomatoes can
normally tolerate -- but which actually reduces the salinity of the soil
as it is farmed, reclaiming the fields for re-use and preserving land
elsewhere. Furthermore, scientists expect the gene to work in nearly any
plant, which would allow reclamation of fields nearly anywhere on the
planet, not just where tomatoes grow.
Crops have also been engineered to resist specific herbicides, one
application that has environmentalists up in arms. They see it as
double-sacrilege -- engineering crops only to coat them in herbicide. But
they miss the point: the bioengineering of crops to be resistant to a
particular herbicide allows the creation of "designer" herbicides with no
lasting ecological impact. These herbicides -- many of them also safer for
farmers to use -- kill the weeds but not the resistant plant, and then
biodegrade into harmless components. Targeted designer herbicides are the
biggest revolution in farming technology since the invention of the
plough: they permit "no-till" farms. Without any tilling, topsoil
ecosystems are allowed to flourish, and fields are actually enriched with
nutrients as they are farmed, increasing crop yields while eliminating the
need for any fertilizer.
Here at Yale, the sustainability focus should shift from organic farms to
those which responsibly embrace biotechnology as a means of reducing the
environmental impact of farming. As an institution, we should encourage
research into new applications of bioengineering, and perhaps studies
committed to proving its safety and effectiveness. Genetic engineering has
no proven disadvantages, but the moral outrage of the mainstream
environmental movement knows no bounds.
It would behoove the advocates of sustainability to reasonably consider
the long-term implications of the alternatives. If we choose otherwise --
if we continue to push for organic farming or if we stay content with the
reality of industrial agriculture today -- we will leave behind a legacy
of ecological and agricultural disaster unmatched in human history.
L. David Peters is a junior in Davenport College.
On DNA "Instability" In Genome
- Denis Murphy, University of Glamorgan, UK
'DNA "instability" in genomes is a fundamental evolutionary process and is
not unique to GMOs'
We often read about the supposedly dire consequences of the random nature
of transgene insertion into plants and the instability of the inserted
DNA. Indeed, it is certainly true that, in contrast to plastid genomes
where site-specific insertion is possible, genes cannot be inserted into a
predicable location in the nuclear genomes of plants. It has also been
known for well over a decade that many transgenic DNA elements can undergo
rearrangements, including deletions, insertions and transpositions after
their initial transfer into the new plant host.
The latest report on transgene instability has recently been described by
Mae-Wan Ho on the ISIS website as follows: Transgenic Lines Proven
Unstable http://www.i-sis.org.uk/TLPU.php To quote from this ISIS report
>> "The insert in every commercially approved GM line has undergone
>rearrangement. The cauliflower mosaic virus promoter plays a major role.
>This should be the final nail in the coffin for GM crops, says Dr.
>Mae-Wan Ho, who has, for years, challenged scientific committees advising
>governments over this very issue."
However, the real question that we should consider is not whether DNA
rearrangements occur - we all know they do - rather it is "what are the
effects of the rearrangements and do they really matter".
My response would be that the DNA rearrangements that sometimes occur
after transgene insertion are very minor, especially compared to those
that can follow conventional breeding practices, for example wide crosses.
Also, if these rearrangements have any effect at all, it will be to give
rise to new variants that can then be screened out, if they are not
useful, in the subsequent breeding program.
Anyone who works in plant breeding knows that it is all about (genetic)
variation. Breeding programs routinely involve selection of suitable
progeny from between a few hundred to tens of thousands of variants. Not
all of these variants will necessarily breed true and it normally takes
5-7 years (or more) to produce a relatively "clean" new breeding line. If
a new character has been introgressed into an existing high yielding line,
it may result in a yield penalty for several seasons before previous high
yields are regained by further backcrossing. This happened when new
low-glucosinolate/low erucic (double low) lines of non-GM rapeseed/canola
were developed in the 1980s and 1990s in response to government
requirements. The presence of these new characters (ie genes) adversely
affected oil yield in the crop for a few years but eventually breeders
produced new double low lines with the previous high oil yields.
In the same way, the process of transgene insertion results in many
genetic variants, depending on the location(s) of the insert and any
subsequent rearrangements. There is sometimes significant instability of
expression, especially in the first generation of transgenic regenerants.
Such instability is greatly reduced following the first cycle of meiosis
(sexual reproduction). The remaining transgenic lines can then be screened
for characters like single transgene copy-number, appropriate expression
of the new trait, stability of inheritance and lack of undesirable
pleiotropic effects. All of this can take several generations and may
involve further rounds of backcrossing to an elite breeding line.
In exceptional cases, some unwanted pleiotropic effects may show up only
after several generations. For example, in the mid 1990s, Calgene found
that some of their high-stearic lines of GM canola had low germination
rates in the field because stearic acid was getting into membrane lipids
as well as the seed oil. However, other GM lines did not show this problem
and the breeding program went on.
We should all remember that genomes, whether they contain transgenes or
not, are very fluid, unstable and plastic entities. Genomes are
continually in a state of flux and DNA is being integrated and shuffled
around both within and between chromosomes in the nucleus and between the
organellar genomes of the mitochondria and plastids.
A flavor of this genome instability can be seen in a couple of papers in a
recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, which show
just how massive and extensive are the changes that occur in the DNA of
The link to the PNAS issue and a quote is as follows:
>> Chromosome rearrangements in evolution: From gene order to genome
>sequence and back - David Sankoff * and Joseph H. Nadeau; PNAS |
>September 30, 2003 | vol. 100 | no. 20 | 11188-11189
>> We are obliged to greatly expand the neat repertoire of classical
>evolutionary processes affecting genome structure: inversion and
>reciprocal translocation; chromosome fusion and fission; gene, segment,
>and chromosomal duplication and loss; polyploidization [even in mammals
>(9)] and return to diploidy, to account not only for the various highly
>productive mechanisms for inserting external material, for the
>proliferation of repetitive sequencing, for massive ongoing sequence
>conversion, e.g., in the Y chromosome (10), but also for the complex
>patterning of frequency and size of the chromosomal fragments involved in
>the more traditional processes.
>> Even if we wish to describe only the major structural changes that
>differentiate two species, genomic sequence alignment to find
>corresponding orthologous segments must overcome a bewildering inventory
>of very short segments and local rearrangements, multiply aligned
>regions, and unaligned zones, which represent the "noise" in this
>analysis, although they are, of course, of vital interest in their own
Report from Zimbabwe - Educate People In Biotech, Says Minister
- Tawanda Zidenga
See below the link from today's daily Herald of Zimbabwe, carrying a story
on the minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Olivia Muchena.
The minister's comments are hopeful (though obviosly political). And I'm
still worried that the Biotechnology Trust of Zimbabwe still structures
its workshops on the "Can Biotechnology Benefit Developing Countries"
topic(and they have been doing this for a very long time). Of course it
can. The question is what should we do.
Biotech Industry Targets 'Deadly' Trans Fat in Foods New Research Could
Yield Healthier Oils
- The USA Today, Oct.27, 2003
The effort to get trans fat, the ''deadliest fat in the American diet,''
out of the food supply is getting a potential boost from the biotech
industry. Agricultural giant Monsanto is expected to announce at the
American Dietetic Association conference in San Antonio today a
three-phase soybean breeding project that it hopes will create a
For the consumer, that means the possibility of a new generation of
saturated- and trans-fat-free chips, cakes, cookies and fries full of
heart-healthy oils at fast-food outlets and on grocery shelves.
The basis of the plan:
* Phase 1. This begins with Monsanto's Roundup-Ready soybeans, which are
genetically engineered to be herbicide-resistant. Using conventional
breeding, that soybean has been bred to produce lower levels of linolenic
acid, which means it will be shelf-stable without being hydrogenated.
Hydrogenation creates trans fat, or trans fatty acids, which raise ''bad
cholesterol'' and decrease ''good cholesterol.'' It also may cause damage
that leads to diabetes and strokes. A low-linolenic soy oil would require
less or no hydrogenation and could reduce or eliminate trans fat in many
foods. The beans will be available to plant in two years.
* Phase 2. Monsanto then takes its low-linolenic-acid bean and, through
conventional breeding, makes it higher in heart-healthy monounsaturated
fats, producing a soy oil similar to olive oil but with a milder taste.
Seeds would be available in four to five years.
* Phase 3. The bean is tweaked to bring its saturated fat down to 1%. It
would be stable without hydrogenation, high in heart-healthy
monounsaturated fats and almost free of saturated fats. It would be almost
trans-fat-free even if hydrogenated. Monsanto says it is eight years away
from planting, including regulatory review.
Dow AgroSciences says it is working on a similar low-saturated-fat
product, a canola oil, though it's not as far along. It already has both
low-linolenic-acid canola and sunflower oils.
The efforts also might pave the way for bioengineered foods to finally
come out of the closet. No longer would manufacturers hide the fact that
their products are made with biotech ingredients because genetic tinkering
makes some people nervous. In fact, consumers may clamor for them.
One buyer with a national supermarket chain said there's consumer
''uncertainty'' about bioengineered products, but the enormous trend
toward ''everything diet'' might overcome that. Some activists worry that
this might just be another version of Golden rice, a bioengineered rice
variety that contains higher levels of vitamin A and was heavily promoted
by the biotech industry as something that would save children in the
developing world from disease. Golden rice hasn't actually made it into
farmers' fields because of technical, financial and patent problems, and
it's unclear if it ever will, even though ads touting it have appeared for
''Why not just call (the soybean project) 'Golden soybeans'?'' asked Mike
Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. But with laws
going into effect in 2006 that will require labeling of trans fat, finding
ways to lower or replace it is the Holy Grail of the food industry, says
Kim Severson, author of The Trans Fat Solution: Cooking and Shopping to
Eliminate the Deadliest Fat from Your Diet. ''It is the No. 1 thing on
the minds of food manufacturers: How can they get a trans-fat-free oil
they can put in fryers and cakes and cookies?''
Still, how much these oils might help eliminate trans fat is an open
question, says Alice Lichtenstein of Tufts University in Boston. ''The
point becomes how much hydrogenated and animal fat is it going to displace
in the U.S. diet? Displacing a little may not have an effect. Displacing a
lot that's relatively high in saturated fat might,'' she says.
But if it helped people eat healthier, even Jacobson, whose organization
is sometimes called ''the Food Police,'' might approve. ''People are not
avoiding McDonald's because the french fries are bad. If we can't persuade
people to stop eating them, let's make them better,'' he says.
On the other hand, companies will have a hard time selling genetically
modified foods as health foods, says Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor
at New York University and author of Food Politics. ''Surely the
population of people who care about trans fat also care about (the dangers
of genetically modified food). This looks like another desperate move by
ag-biotech companies to find something useful to genetically engineer.''
India May OK Ten More GMO Bt Cotton Varieties In 2 Years
- Dow Jones Commodities Service, New Delhi, Oct. 27
India is expected to allow commercial planting of 10 varieties of GMO Bt
Cotton in the next two years, C.D.Mayee, Agricultural Commissioner of
India said Monday. "Around 15 private companies have submitted varieties
of GMO Bt Cotton for the federal government's approval. We expect 10
variants to be allowed for commercial planting in 2 years," Mayee told
reporters on the sidelines of an Indo-US joint conference on
Most of the Bt Cotton varieties to be launched in the next two years are
from Indian companies, such as Rashi and Ankur Seeds. In March 2002,
India allowed Monsanto, a multinational agribusiness company, to sell Bt
Cotton seeds in Western and Southern India.
Mayee said the area under Bt Cotton crop has reached 100,000 hectares in
the calendar year 2003, compared with 30,000 hectares last calendar year,
the year Bt Cotton was first sown in India.
India's cotton crop is sown in June and harvested in October. Good monsoon
rains will lead to a better cotton harvest this calendar year.
Bt Cotton is the only GMO crop that can be planted in India. "The prices
of seeds for growing Bt Cotton in India would definitely fall when more
varieties are available for sale in the market," said Mayee.
Bt Cotton is resistant to bollworm, a common and frequently occurring pest
in cotton crop.
Mayee, however, added that no GMO food crop is likely to introduced into
the Indian market over the next five years. "Research and scientific
trials on various GMO food crops, especially pulses, is going on, but
commercial release can't be expected in the next 5 years."
Global Biotechnology Forum
- 2 - 5 March 2004, Concepcion, Chile; UNIDO
Structure of Scientific Revolutions - by Thomas S. Kuhn
- Amazon.com price $9.60; Paperback, 212 pages; University of Chicago
Press; 3rd ed (November 1996); 0226458083
There's a "Frank & Ernest" comic strip showing a chick breaking out of its
shell, looking around, and saying, "Oh, wow! Paradigm shift!" Blame the
late Thomas Kuhn. Few indeed are the philosophers or historians
influential enough to make it into the funny papers, but Kuhn is one.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is indeed a paradigmatic work in
the history of science. Kuhn's use of terms such as "paradigm shift" and
"normal science," his ideas of how scientists move from disdain through
doubt to acceptance of a new theory, his stress on social and
psychological factors in science--all have had profound effects on
historians, scientists, philosophers, critics, writers, business gurus,
and even the cartoonist in the street.
"A landmark in intellectual history which has attracted attention far
beyond its own immediate field. . . . It is written with a combination of
depth and clarity that make it an almost unbroken series of aphorisms. . .
. Kuhn does not permit truth to be a criterion of scientific theories, he
would presumably not claim his own theory to be true. But if causing a
revolution is the hallmark of a superior paradigm, [this book] has been a
resounding success." --Nicholas Wade, Science
"Perhaps the best explanation of [the] process of discovery." --William
Erwin Thompson, New York Times Book Review "Occasionally there emerges a
book which has an influence far beyond its originally intended audience. .
. . Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions . . . has
clearly emerged as just such a work." --Ron Johnston, Times Higher
"Among the most influential academic books in this century." -- Choice
--One of "The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the Second World War,"
Times Literary Supplement
Thomas S. Kuhn was the Laurence Rockefeller Professor Emeritus of
linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His books include The Essential Tension; Black-Body Theory and the Quantum
Discontinuity, 1894-1912; and The Copernican Revolution