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Date:

October 26, 2006

Subject:

Holy See Debate; Delaying Technology; Nobel Ignores Plants; Irritable Bowel; Pusztai Analyzed; Biotech & the Human Soul

 

Today in AgBioView from http://www.agbioworld.org - October 26, 2006

* U.S. Holy See Embassy Wades Into GM Crops Debate
* Delaying Technology is Deadly
* RNAi Nobel Ignores Vital Groundwork on Plants
* Ag Biotech: Legal Liability Regimes from Comparative and Int. Perspectives
* Holy smokes, A Good Use for Tobacco
* Pusztai Study on GM Potatoes and their effect on Rats
* Building Capacities for the Biosafety Protocol: Last Six Years
* Guidance on Science Communication
* Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being
* Biotechnology and the Human Soul
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U.S. Holy See Embassy Wades Into Genetically Modified Crops Debate

- Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, October 29 http://ncregister.com/site/article/507/

'The Holy See invited three American professors to present eight years of research on genetically modified crops and their effect on farmers, industry and the environment.'

ROME -- The use of genetically modified organisms is a controversial topic these days -- even in Rome.
As part of its ongoing efforts to stimulate debate about the issue, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See invited three American professors to Rome on Oct. 5-6, to present eight years of research on genetically modified organism (GMO) crops and their effect on farmers, industry and the environment.

The professors' visit was timely. A network of Christian and environmentalist groups recently spearheaded a campaign warning of "Terminator Technology" (genetically modified seeds that could be programmed to die and so protect intellectual property rights of the corporations that engineer the seeds).

And in August, anti-GMO campaigners destroyed a French farmer's genetically modified corn -- the first time a commercial farm using genetically modified crops had been targeted. Biotech companies, meanwhile, have been continually accused of applying heavy-handed tactics to force farmers to use their products.

In September, the non-profit Public Patent Foundation filed a formal request for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to revoke patents issued to one biotech multinational, St. Louis-based Monsanto. The foundation alleges that Monsanto is using the biotech patents "to harass, intimidate, sue -- and in many cases bankrupt -- American farmers."

For its part, the Vatican has expressed awareness of the technology's great potential in reducing hunger, but has offered no definitive judgments on its use. Pope Benedict XVI has not spoken on the issue, and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences have advised scientists to "proceed with caution."

The three professors who spoke this month in Rome offered some compelling arguments about the merits of genetically modified organisms. Between 1996 and 2004, the researchers found substantial net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to a total of $27 billion.

The technology had also reduced pesticide spraying by 380,000,000 pounds and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture -- the equivalent, the researchers said, of removing five million cars from the roads.

Furthermore, none of the professors had come across a single case of negative health effects on human beings from using or consuming the genetically altered products.

What gave added weight to their findings was the neutrality of the academics. All three were former Peace Corps volunteers whose research focused on the humanitarian aspects of GMO science. And all three said they had no direct ties to biotech multinationals, although one does belong to an organization that receives some funding from Monsanto.

"We're just public sector employees," said Professor Greg Taxler, an Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology lecturer at Auburn University in Alabama. "We usually like to run these things down, run them to the ground." The professors advocated more genetically modified organism research targeted towards developing countries and the small-seed market, and more public-sector investment in biotechnology research.

Apart from a few government-directed projects, most commercial genetically modified organism products are sold by Monsanto and three other multinationals. But the researchers debunked the claim, often made by anti-GMO campaigners, that profiteering multinationals make poor rural farmers dependent on genetically modified seeds that aren't beneficial to the farmers.

These "paternalistic" arguments imply that farmers are not clever enough to be able to discern the advantages of one crop from another, the researchers said.This "misinformation" -- particularly prevalent among European environmentalist groups -- prevents farmers in developing countries from being able to make good choices because propaganda has caused some regulators in developing countries to prohibit genetically modified organism products.

"The regulators always tend to say No," said Professor Lawrence Kent, director of International Programs at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, "but in the meantime agricultural productivity goes down, poverty goes up, and people aren't finding a solution." Particularly frustrating for Prof. Kent is that his organization has teamed up with biotech multinational Monsanto to offer free modified seeds to poor farmers, but many African governments won't look at them.

The professors also accused their opponents of spreading myths about damage caused to the environment by biotech crops.

Carl Pray, professor of agricultural food and resource economics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, cited documentation of genetically modified organisms from China that actually showed a "dramatic" drop in nausea and signs of pesticide poisoning when farmers used genetically modified crops that contain their own internal pesticide mechanism.

Pray also highlighted research indicating that genetically modified white corn in South Africa has reduced toxins related to cancer and miscarriages.

The Vatican has persistently warned of two temptations regarding genetically modified crops: thinking that only genetically modified organisms can solve the problem of hunger; and falling into the trap of providing superficial information, fueled by over-enthusiasm or unjustified alarmism. Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, has taken a particular interest in the debate.

During a two-day seminar on genetically modified foods that the council hosted in November 2003, Cardinal Martino said the Vatican is a "student" in the debate about genetically modified foods and will continue to study the issue for some time before making any moral pronouncements on the technology.

"I continue to say what I have said in the past: We must feed the hungry," Cardinal Martino told reporters at the end of the 2003 meeting. "You do not do that by giving them a meal of genetically modified food, but by giving them an opportunity to improve their lives, perhaps even using genetically modified crops."

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Delaying Technology is Deadly

- Paul Driessen, Washington Times, Oct. 25, 2006

In sub-Saharan Africa and poor areas of Asia and Latin America, diarrhea isn't just a source of mild discomfort and juvenile bathroom humor.

Because of unsanitary conditions, contaminated water and food infected by bacteria in feces used for fertilizer, people in those regions endure 4 billion episodes of severe diarrhea a year. Up to 2 million die annually.

Among children in the United States, acute diarrhea accounts for more than 1.5 million outpatient visits, 200,000 hospitalizations, and 300 deaths a year. It imposes a multibillion-dollar burden on the U.S. health-care system.

But miracles of modern medical and agricultural science offer hope. For years, glucose-based rehydration solutions (similar to Pedialyte) were used to treat diarrhea. They saved countless lives, by replacing lost salts, sugars and bodily fluids. However, even with the successful health outcomes, these solutions did not reduce the incidence or severity of childhood diarrhea.

Now Ventria Bioscience has developed an advanced solution that augments standard rehydration solutions, by adding protective human proteins (lactoferrin and lysozyme) found in all human saliva and breast milk.

A recent child health study demonstrated the proteins cut the average duration of children's diarrhea by 30 percent (1-1/2 days), and patients were half as likely to get diarrhea again during the next 12 months. Equally important, Ventria produces the proteins in a special variety of rice, which makes its rehydration solution affordable, even for people in poor countries.

Ventria achieved its remarkable breakthrough by altering rice DNA and using rice plants as factories that utilize the sun, soil and water as raw materials to produce the proteins. The company extracts the proteins and adds them to rehydration solutions. Its success could convert one of the world's most essential foods into a valuable lifesaver.

In another achievement, SemBioSys Genetics created genetically engineered safflowers that produce insulin at commercial levels: An acre of safflower can produce a kilogram of insulin, enough for 2,500 patients. Fewer than 16,000 acres -- about 0.2 percent of what Iowa farmers devote to corn -- would cover projected 2010 world demand for insulin. With diabetes on the rise in India and elsewhere, this advance could be vital.

Syngenta is working on plant-based antibodies that fight infections and skin disease. Other scientists are enhancing plants to produce vaccines, hormones and enzymes that can treat HIV, cancer, heart and kidney disease, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, hepatitis, anthrax, West Nile virus and arthritis.

It costs around $1,000 to produce 1 gram (0.035 ounce) of protein from animal cells, making many such vaccines prohibitively costly for even the wealthiest countries, and completely out of reach for destitute countries. Producing the same amount from gene-altered plants would cost less than $20 -- and that means pharmaceutical companies could give higher priority to finding cures for rare and "orphan" diseases across the globe.

But amazingly, instead of applauding these lifesaving innovations, critics attack them. Luddite radicals like the Center for Food Safety, Union of Concerned Scientists and Greenpeace assert this "Frankenstein" technology tampers with nature and could "contaminate" other crops. These groups are well funded by organic food interests and others who profit by attempting to scare the public. The European Union and organic food industries demand stringent, costly, unnecessary regulations that impose unconscionable delays and result in death for some of the world's most needy children.

Breeders have been improving plants for millennia, using various genetic technologies. Plant biotechnology is simply a refinement of the earlier, cruder techniques. Today's researchers employ genetic technologies that are far more careful and precise -- and management practices that maintain closed production systems and virtually eliminate any risks of accidental cross-pollination and gene migration.

But none of this makes any difference to "anti-humanists who put unfounded fear-mongering ahead of the world's children," says Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore. Healthy, well-fed, safe from diseases that kill millions in other countries, with access to abundant clean water and electricity -- they obsess about purely speculative risks from technologies that could improve and save countless lives.

In so doing, they perpetuate disease risks for countless human beings. They throw roadblocks in the path of scientific and technological progress that so far has eluded the world's poor, even as it improved our own health, nutrition, living standards and lifespans.

My personal experience with polio (luckily after receiving two Salk inoculations) made me eternally grateful that these "ethicists" weren't around 50 years ago to stymie research and field trials of that vaccine. My generation can also count its blessings for treatments, antibiotics and other vaccines that have saved many of us and our children.

It is now the responsibility of our generation to protect children, the poor and future generations from mean-spirited Luddite groups paid to undermine our humanity and technological progress. It is time for legislators, regulators, judges and people of conscience to say "enough."

The world needs these miraculous technologies -- today. And those who support radical anti-biotech organizations need to understand that, by blocking health-care innovations, they are perpetuating misery, disease and premature death in countries the world over. That is simply immoral.

---
Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Congress of Racial Equality and Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, and author of "Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death" (www.Eco-Imperialism.com).

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RNAi Nobel Ignores Vital Groundwork on Plants

- Marc Bots, Spencer Maughan and Jeroen Nieuwland, Nature 443, 906, October 26 2006; (Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Belgium; Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, UK)
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v443/n7114/full/443906a.html

Sir: The Nobel prize, by recognizing the individuals behind breakthroughs, inspires all scientists to do great science. The discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) changed the face of gene regulation, a feat deservedly recognized with this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine1.

As undergraduates, we witnessed with great excitement the discovery of gene silencing. At that time, almost all research in that area was being conducted by plant scientists, and as young plant biologists we were lucky to have front-row seats to this molecular drama.

Like all great advances, RNAi is turning out to be important in ways that could not have been guessed at even a decade ago. Therefore we were not surprised to discover that the topic was selected for this year's honour -- but we were shocked that the plant scientists who were so crucial in discovering and communicating the underlying mechanism of RNAi were not awarded a share.

Of course there is often controversy around the awarding of the Nobel prize. Yet in this case we feel that a grave error has been made in overlooking key researchers, all of whom work on plants. Most of the six points cited in support of the prize were not first shown by Andrew Fire or Craig Mello, who won the prize, but were already known from plant research. For example, the sequence specificity, RNA degradation and post-transcriptional nature of gene silencing had all been shown in studies on plants and plant viruses2, 3. In addition, the observation that silencing is non-cell-autonomous was first done in plants4. Moreover, the models involving double-stranded RNA and amplification mechanisms had been proposed by plant researchers before the publications of RNAi mechanisms in animal systems5.

In our view, the main importance of the work by Fire, Mello and colleagues (accessible via ref. 1., together with other relevant articles) was the integration of these elements to demonstrate that they stood up to testing in an animal system, the nematode worn Caenorhabditis elegans. Subsequently, plant research continued to break new ground on mechanisms of RNAi-based genetic regulation.

As the Nobel prize may be shared by three people, a plant scientist should have been included. One who springs to mind as a pioneer in the field is David Baulcombe (see http://www.sainsbury-laboratory.ac.uk/dcb). His work was key to understanding the mechanism of RNAi and paved the way for Fire and Mello's findings.

By ignoring the work done in plants, the Nobel committee has undermined the values at the centre of the prize and is sending a discouraging message, especially to young researchers.

References
1. Nature 443, 488 (2006).
2. Baulcombe, D. C. Plant Mol. Biol. 32, 79–88 (1996).
3. Van der Krol, A. R. et al. Plant Cell 2, 291–299 (1990).
4. Voinnet, O. & Baulcombe, D. C. Nature 389, 553 (1997).
5. Metzlaft, M., O'Dell, M., Cluster, P. D. & Flavell, R. B. Cell 88, 845–854 (1997).

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Agricultural Biotechnology: Legal Liability Regimes from Comparative and International Perspectives

- Stuart J. Smyth & Drew L. Kershen, Global Jurist Advances, Vol. 6, No. 2, Article 3.
Full paper at http://www.bepress.com/gj/advances/vol6/iss2/art3

As agricultural biotechnology has become an agronomic alternative, discussion has emerged about what legal liabilities, if any, exists for those who create, distribute, and produce transgenic seeds and crops. Many governments have debated legal liability as related to agricultural biotechnology.

In this article, the authors offer fresh insights on legal liability from comparative law and international law perspectives. The article begins by comparing Canadian and American legal liability regimes in agricultural biotechnology. Using this North American comparison as background, the article then discusses liability issues by contrasting the statutory regimes from Denmark and Germany. Once the comparisons and contrasts between Canadian, American, Danish, and German law have been presented, the article focuses on the on-going discussion of legal liability and agricultural biotechnology at the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (BSP).

The authors posit that understanding the comparisons and contrasts between Canada, the United States, Denmark, and Germany assists greatly in understanding the issues and debates about legal liability and agricultural biotechnology at the international level in the BSP negotiations.

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Holy smokes, A Good Use for Tobacco

- John Miner, London Free Press (Ontario), October 25, 2006

'Genetically modified tobacco plants helped slash the cost of vital inflammation research.'

London scientists have succeeded in using genetically engineered tobacco plants to treat inflammatory bowel disease, a breakthrough that holds out hope of a new treatment for the debilitating disease. "It is a milestone," Anthony Jevnikar, chief scientific officer of London-based Plantigen Inc., said yesterday.

The London scientists, a team that combined medical and agricultural researchers, modified tobacco plants to produce the human protein interleukin-10, known to reduce inflammation in humans. Fed to mice with an inflammatory disease, interleukin-10 reduced the severity of the inflammation and improved the health of the mice. "I'd be very surprised if this did not have a similar effect in people," said Jevnikar, who is also director of kidney transplantation at London Health Sciences Centre.

Inflammatory bowel disease includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease which affect more than one million people in North America, including 100,000 Canadians. The research results were published in Plant Biotechnology Journal by the research team which included scientists from Agriculture Canada, the Lawson Health Research Institute, and Plantigen, a discovery company spun off from Lawson.

Federal Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl said the research was an exciting breakthrough that shows great promise. By using tobacco plants engineered to produce the protein, the scientists were able to slash the production costs. If usual pharmaceutical fermentation techniques had been used, the costs of the study on mice would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars a week, Jevnikar said. "It would have been simply unaffordable."

Researchers hope to use genetically engineered plants to produce other pharmaceuticals at much lower costs than currently possible."We are on the verge of this," said Jevnikar. "London is most definitely a world leader in all of this."

Plantigen is also working on a preventive treatment produced in genetically engineered plants for Type 1 diabetes. The tobacco plant was used in the research because there is almost no chance the genetically engineered variety could spread to other plants.

As an added precaution, all of the tobacco plants with interleukin-10 were grown indoors, and a mutant tobacco variety was used that doesn't produce any seeds.

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Analysis of Pusztai Study on GM Potatoes and their effect on Rats

- Dr. Nina V. Fedoroff, Willaman Professor of Life Sciences and Evan Pugh Professor, Pennsylvania State http://hils.psu.edu/lsc/fedoroff.html (Via GMO Pundit)

On August 10th, 1998, Arpad Pusztai of the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland appeared on the British TV show "World in Action." In the course of the interview, he announced that his experiments showed that rats fed a diet of potatoes expressing a gene coding for a snowdrop sugar-binding protein showed stunted growth and reduced immune function (Enserink, Science 281.1184). He is further quoted as saying that he would not eat GM food and that he found it "very, very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs" (Lee and Tyler, 1999).

The study made headlines around the world. According to Science's Martin Enserink, the Rowett Institute was flooded with calls from reporters even before the show aired. He quotes Rowett director Philip James saying that the Institute was faced with "a megacrisis we didn't remotely anticipate." James is said to have examined the experiments and found them a total "muddle." Pusztai’s laboratory was sealed, his notebooks were turned over to an audit committee and Pusztai was put on indefinite leave – he was out of a job. The audit committee's report, released in October of 1998, concluded that Pusztai’s data did not support the conclusion that the transgenic plants had a deleterious effect on growth, organ development, or immune function in rats.

Read on at http://gmopundit2.blogspot.com/2006/02/analysis-of-pusztai-study-on-gm.html

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Building Capacities for the Effective Implementation of the Biosafety Protocol: What Have We Accomplished in the Last Six Years?

- Eric Tamale, Biosafety Protocol News, October 24,2006 via www.merid.org

This article, by a member of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) Biosafety Division, overviews what has been accomplished since the adoption of the CBD's Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in 2000, as well as what unmet needs and gaps remain.

The article says some major achievements include the following: 1) with assistance from the global UN Environment Program/ Global Environment Facility (UNEP-GEF) project, more than 120 countries have developed their national biosafety frameworks (NBFs), and at least 12 other countries have embarked on implementing theirs; 2) many countries have established institutional mechanisms for administering biosafety; 3) a number of short-term training workshops and a few long-term courses on biosafety have been organized; and 4) "some progress" has been made in building capacity for risk assessment and risk management. The article says that there is still a need to build on these achievements by strengthening human resources and institutional capacities in developing countries and countries in transition.

A survey carried out by the SCBD in 2005 found that major capacity-building gaps existed, especially in the areas of: 1) technology transfer; 2) identification of genetically modified organisms (GMOs); 3) risks assessment and risk management; and 4) the handling of socio-economic considerations. The article can be viewed online at:

http://www.biodiv.org/doc/newsletters/bpn/bpn-issue01.pdf

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Practical Guidance on Key Science Communications Issues

http://www.scidev.net/ms/howdoi/

The articles in this section provide practical advice on how to engage in various activities related directly or indirectly to the communication of science.

How do I ... .. become 'media savvy'? .. become a science journalist? .. sub-edit a science article? ... brief policymakers? ... write a press release ... apply for a research grant .. write a scientific paper? .. submit a paper to a scientific journal?

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Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being

- AAAS Annual Meeting, February 15-19, 2007; San Francisco http://www.aaas.org/meetings/Annual_Meeting

The achievement of sustainable well-being depends heavily on economic, sociopolitical, and environmental conditions and processes, and on their interconnections. Progress needs to be thought of in terms of improving the human condition in all of these dimensions -- environmental, sociopolitical, and cultural as well as economic -- and sustainability should be thought of as making these improvements in ways and to end points that are consistent with maintaining the improvements indefinitely.

This is a challenge not just for developing countries--where large proportions of the population still lack the most basic ingredients of material and social well-being--but also for the industrialized ones--where many of the practices that support the levels of material well-being already achieved are not sustainable in resource and environmental terms and where widening gaps between rich and poor within countries, and fraying social safety nets, threaten sociopolitical sustainability as well.

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Biotechnology and the Human Soul

- Michael A. Goldman, Science, Oct. 20, 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5798, p. 423

"Challenging Nature, The Clash of Science and Spirituality at the New Frontiers of Life by Lee M. Silver
Ecco (HarperCollins), New York, 2006. 460 pp. $26.95, C$34.95. ISBN 0-06-058267-7."

I never read Lee Silver's Remaking Eden (1). I found the author's bravado in interviews as an unabashed salesperson for our biotechnological future distasteful and embarrassing. I almost dropped a popular textbook just for adding him as a co-author. I still cringe a bit after reading Challenging Nature, but now I think it isn't so bad to have an eloquent, well-traveled, and well-read counterbalance for Leon Kass and Jeremy Rifkin. It is refreshing to see Silver's careful, though biased, examination of the issues from a scientific perspective on bioethics. The Princeton professor's new book provides insight into and ammunition against almost any anti-biotechnology argument scientists are likely to encounter.

Silver states his prejudice at the outset. His field of molecular biology, Silver claims, is, "compared with every other field of scholarship and science … the least compatible with spiritual beliefs." He asserts that "[b]iotechnology could alleviate human suffering, increase the quality of life in all societies, and maximize the health of the biosphere." In fact, he believes that "human nature will remake all of Mother Nature.… The ultimate question--the very asking of which strikes fear into the hearts of many people--is whether or not the human spirit or soul will stay the same or be remade in the process as well."

Despite this introduction and a couple of chapters that explore the meaning of spirit, soul, and the afterlife in various cultures, in the book Silver concentrates more on broad aspects of relations between biotechnology and society than on the tension between religion and science.

Challenging Nature captures the best examples of preposterous behavior from opponents of biotechnology. Of the former chair of President Bush's bioethics council, Leon Kass, Silver quips, "Mysticism, however, does survive in some people who have enough scientific training to know better." But the author's criticism of Jeremy Rifkin is even more acerbic. "Rifkin has no academic degrees in science, technology, or agriculture, but that hasn't stopped him from writing over a dozen books supposedly aimed at explaining science to the layman while getting much of the science wrong."

Many scientists are afraid to ask what differentiates humans from all other animal species. The Christian view is still heavily influenced by the idea that the human spirit remains beyond scientific inquiry. In Silver's view, the major emphasis of human genome analyses in the Western world has been to enhance health, but some investigators (including researchers at the RIKEN Institute in Japan) have been asking how we differ genetically from chimpanzees. Silver thinks that one day the difference will boil down to a few dozen genes, a kind of "soul code."

Of his host at RIKEN Silver writes, "Sakai yearns to answer a question possibly as old as humankind itself: What gives a human being a human mind with the ability to ask the question 'What gives a human being a human mind?'" These investigators were "trying to find the DNA code for the human soul." When Silver asked the researchers at RIKEN whether or not they might one day try to transfer those very genes into a nonhuman primate, their answer was affirmative: they would, if they could, try to imbue a chimp with a human soul. The Neandertal genome projects may provide even more exciting information for the next edition of Silver's book.

The author has a charming way of turning any argument upside down in a kind of reductio ad absurdum. Silver polls a group of scientists and bioethicists about what they would do should an infertile couple want to avail themselves of an assisted reproductive technology that had a 28% risk of birth defects. Most, in time, agreed that the parents should have that choice. Yet many people would call an 8% chance of birth defects after a hypothetical gene transfer protocol just too risky.

Further reminding us that no technique is safe, Silver points out that natural fertilization--which entails a 50% risk of embryonic demise, 20% rate of fetal loss, and 4% rate of birth defects--establishes a very low bar on "safety" for reproductive technologies like cloning and germline gene alteration. Although Silver's approach fails to convince me that we should forge on with controversial reproductive technologies just because we can, it is a keen reminder that no procedure is risk free.

Silver shows himself as much at odds with mainstream ecologists and conservation biologists as he is with the religious right. Challenging the notion that ecosystems are in a fragile and optimum equilibrium, he rejects three major arguments for species preservation. In fact, he holds, there is no defensible reason for the conservation of species except because we think species preservation is a moral imperative. Although there are always some species on the edge of extinction, extinction cannot always be negative: most species that ever existed are now extinct, and that clearly hasn't been bad from our perspective.

Silver criticizes the rejection of genetically modified foods on the grounds that it is based not on science but purely on an emotional feeling that natural is good and corporate is bad. As a true-to-form cheerleader for technology, he states that "The best hope for preserving and protecting wilderness and wildlife--while feeding humankind--will come not from banning biotechnology but from embracing it and guiding it."

Will Challenging Nature change anyone's mind about biotechnology and spirituality? Probably not. Nonetheless, it provides a good injection of the rationalist view into one of the most important debates of our time. And Silver does so in a way that should be equally accessible and enjoyable to the general reader and the professional scientist, ethicist, or theologian.

Reference
1. L. M. Silver, Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World (Avon, New York, 1997).
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The reviewer is in the Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 94132-1722, USA. E-mail: goldman@sfsu.edu

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