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Date:

June 23, 2008

Subject:

Syngenta, Dow, Monsanto, DuPont progress; New yield & consumer traits in pipeline; Two biotech books

 


* Brazil Approves Syngenta's Corn
* Dow, Monsanto Move To Grow
* DuPont Opens Research Center in Mexico
* Second Generation Put To Test
* Biotech canola could offer even healthier oil
* Desert plant may hold key
* University Maps Tobacco Genome
* Farmers welcome debate on GM crops role
* EU industries want GMO flexibility
* French constitutional court upholds GMO law
* GE: A scientist's analysis of the issues
* Effects of Bt transgenic plants on parasitoids
* Book: Transgenics and the Poor
* Book: The Science and Politics of Fear
* Infection research within organic bred pigs
* Video: GMOs Eliminated by 4 Year Old

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Brazilian Commission Approves Syngenta's GMO Corn

- Dow Jones, June 19, 2008

http://www.easybourse.com/bourse-actualite/marches/brazilian-commission-approves-syngenta-s-gmo-corn-474416?PHPSESSID=6e12ace27a400ea705d5b023182b9f3d

SAO PAULO - Brazil's National Biosafety Commission, or CTNBio, has approved Swiss multinational seed company Syngenta's (SYT) transgenic corn, a CTNBio press officer confirmed Thursday.

"Syngenta can now commercially sell its transgenic corn in Brazil," the press officer said.

Medard Schoenmaeckers, head of media relations for Syngenta in Europe, said that Syngenta's Bt11 transgenic corn, containing insecticide, is increasingly important as farmers plant more corn in Brazil. "The product is already sold in the U.S.," he said, refusing to give any targets for sales in Brazil.

Syngenta joins CropScience's LibertyLink and Monsanto Co.'s (MON) Guardian brand of genetically modified corn, which has already received approval. Meanwhile, Syngenta remains uncertain about the future of its troubled 128-acre GMO test center in west Parana, Schoenmaeckers said.

The GMO soybean and corn research lab owned by Syngenta, not far from the large Iguassu National Park, has been dogged by protesting anti-GMO campaigners since 2006. The protesters have now left the site and the company is evaluating the damage and the future use of the site, Schoenmaeckers said.

"We are looking at all options," he said, refusing to answer whether the site could be closed down permanently.

Parana is the leading corn growing state in Brazil. Corn is Brazil's No. 2 crop in acreage behind soybeans, which is Brazil's leading farm commodity.

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Dow, Monsanto Move To Grow Crop Businesses

- Melinda Peer, Forbes, June 19, 2008

http://www.forbes.com:80/markets/2008/06/19/marmot-monsanto-closer-markets-equity-cx_mp_0619markets47.html

With raising agricultural output suddenly an urgent priority again, companies like Dow Chemical and Monsanto are looking to provide a solution with genetically modified crops.

On Thursday, Monsanto agreed to acquire Marmot S.A., which operates Central America's leading corn seed company, giving it a distribution network to deliver new products to farmers in the region.

Meanwhile, Dow AgroScience, the agricultural arm of Dow Chemical, exercised an option to license so-called zinc finger technology from Sangamo Biosciences for use in agricultural crops, industrial products and plant-based biopharmaceuticals. The two companies have been collaborating for three years, trying to develop the technology for agricultural use. Dow will pay $6.0 million to Sangamo with the potential for an additional $4.0 million in milestone payments.

Zinc fingers are naturally occurring proteins that can turn genes on or off and can even remove or insert new genetic material. The technology is of great interest to researchers who have been working to develop seeds with higher yields and plants that are resistant to drought, pests and diseases. (See: " A Whole New Crop")

"The EXZACT Precision Traits technology essentially accelerates the natural selection breeding process," said a Dow AgroSciences representative. "Now that we better understand plant characteristics, we have the technology to go in and make the changes that we want. Since it's so precise, we can reap the benefits in years rather than decades."

According to Dow, the technology can knock one to two years off of the development time of a genetically modified crop--a process that typically takes 10 years--giving Dow a huge advantage.

"The application of zinc fingers to improve food quality and quantity on less land and in a sustainable manner is a cause to which we can now significantly contribute," said Sangamo President Edward Lanphier, adding, "The list of traits that can be generated quickly and precisely with zinc fingers is virtually limitless."

Sangamo shares closed down 30 cents, or 3.2%, at $8.95. Dow Chemical shares gained 6 cents, or 0.2%, to close Thursday's session at $38.29.

Also on Thursday, Monsanto agreed to acquire Marmot S.A., which operates Central America's leading corn seed company, Semillas Cristiani Burkard. Based in Guatemala City, Semillas boasts more than 40 years in the seed business and works with more than 900 dealers in Central America.

Although genetically modified crops aren't allowed in Central America, except for in Honduras, that could change as governments become increasingly concerned about global food supply (See: U.N. Meets On Global Food Crisis). On May 29, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization called for a reconsideration of genetically-modified crops, which have been banned by most governments (See: Food Crisis Spurs Calls For More Research). Monsanto has made similar requests to regulators and doesn't want to waste any time setting up a distribution network if and when genetically altered crops are approved for planting. That's where Semillas comes in.

"Monsanto believes that the acquisition will enhance the company's international corn seed business and its genetics portfolio, enabling the company to deliver new seed offerings to farmers. Longer term, pending regulatory approvals, Monsanto believes the acquisition holds the opportunity to expand the potential adoption of biotechnology traits internationally," the company said.

Its shares shed $2.14, or 1.5%, to close at $139.36.

Semillas focuses on producing hybrid corn seed and operates in twelve countries throughout North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. Monsanto said the company's general manager, Antonio Cristiani Moscoso, will continue to lead the business and its 360 employees.

"This acquisition, which solidified Monsanto's position as the leading corn seed provider in the Latin and Central American regions, will enable our companies to provide new and innovative higher-yielding corn seed offerings to farmers," said Brett Begemann, Monsanto's global commercial executive vice president.

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DuPont Opens New Maize Research Center in Mexico

Increased Investment in R&D Brings Better Products to Market Faster.

- DuPont (press release), June 20, 2008

http://www.prweb.com:80/releases/2008/06/prweb1042334.htm

Los Mochis, Mexico - DuPont today announced the opening of a new maize research center here to accelerate seed product development and help increase farm productivity in northern Mexico.

"DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred has been helping Mexican farmers increase their productivity and profitability by developing products suited for their unique growing conditions for a quarter century," said William S. Niebur, vice president -- DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development. "This new research center will help us deliver even more advanced genetics and technologies more quickly and help meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and materials."

The research center will be the fourth crop genetics research facility Pioneer operates in Mexico. It will focus on developing superior maize hybrids specifically suited for the northwest and northeast Mexico markets.

"Pioneer has a very robust research pipeline," Niebur said, during an opening event for customers, government officials and community leaders today at the new research center. "This new research center will help us make the most of that pipeline for customers in this area." The research center is part of the strategic plan to grow the Pioneer business globally. It increases the total number of research centers to more than 90 worldwide.

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is the world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics in nearly 70 countries.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

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Second Generation Put To Test

- Ohio Farmer, June 18, 2008

http://www.ohiofarmer.com/index.aspx?ascxid=fpStory&fpsid=34367&fpstid=2

More than 400 farmers throughout the Midwest, including several in Ohio, are planting production seed this spring to support the introduction of Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans in 2009, according to a report from Monsanto, maker of the new genetically modified product.

"This second-generation Roundup Ready soybean technology is expected to generate strong demand when it is introduced next season," the company release reported. "Monsanto depends on these production farmers to grow enough seed to help meet that demand."

In Ohio, about 6,400 acres of Roundup Ready 2 Yield are being planted the company says. Participating farmers will also share information with the manufacturer about the performance of the technology.

Doug Dealey of Condoy, will be planting Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans on about 500 acres of his farm this spring, according to the release. "It's really exciting to be able to try this new technology before it becomes commercially available," says Dealey. "The world demand for soybeans just keeps on growing, and, with the promise of increased yield potential, U.S. farmers will need this new technology to fulfill that demand."

Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans provide the same flexible weed control and crop safety as Roundup Ready soybeans, but with higher yield potential. Four years of Monsanto field trials have demonstrated a yield advantage of 7 to 11% for Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans compared with the first-generation technology, Monsanto claims.

According to the company in 2009, Roundup Ready 2 Yield varieties will be available primarily in maturity groups 2 and 3, which are planted where more than 50% of U.S. soybeans are grown. This includes all of Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and Pennsylvania; most of Illinois and Indiana; portions of northern Missouri, Kansas and Maryland; and portions of southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and South Dakota.

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Biotech canola could offer even healthier oil

- Andrea Johnson, Farm and Ranch Guide, June 19, 2008

http://www.farmandranchguide.com:80/articles/2008/06/19/ag_news/agri-tech/tech10.txt

A new generation of healthy canola oils could soon be available to consumers.

Dow AgroSciences LLC and Martek Biosciences Corporation have announc-ed they will develop and commercialize a canola seed that produces omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

The two companies hope to eventually produce DHA-rich canola oil for people to eat.

DHA omega-3 is a healthy long-chain fatty acid that is used by the brain and eyes. It supports brain, eye and cardiovascular health.

Science is finding that people of all ages, from babies through aging adults, benefit from DHA omega-3 in their diets. Clinical studies are underway to evaluate the role of DHA in decreasing the prevalence of certain neurological disorders.

Despite its importance, Americans consume very little DHA omega-3.

Today, DHA is primarily sourced from algal fermentation and fish oil.

While canola and flax naturally contain omega-3 fatty acids, they do not contain DHA omega-3, which is found in fish.

The key thing, say company officials, is that not all omega-3 fatty acids are the same. They are all healthful, but DHA appears to have the most impact and offer the widest range of health benefits.

Canola and flax omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy, but DHA from fish oil offers even more health benefits.

"Nutritionists are now recommending that people increase their consumption of DHA as most consumers don't get enough in their diets today," said Daniel R. Kittle, Ph.D., global research and development leader and vice president, Dow AgroSciences. "Martek, with its strong portfolio in omega-3 fatty acids, will be a great addition to the continued development of our rapidly growing canola and sunflower Healthy Oils platform."

Biotechnology will be used to produce canola with DHA.

Scientists will take algae genes that are responsible for making DHA and insert those into canola, said David Dzisiak, Dow AgroSciences commercial leader in oils.

Canola production lends itself well to maintaining an identity-preserved product, he added.

"We have a lot of experience with canola, and we can do the modifications that are needed so we can do the plant breeding and biotechnology work to make DHA," Dzisiak said.

With the gene transfer, the canola plant will make new enzymes and new proteins that in turn will make the DHA-rich oil.

"Those proteins and enzymes don't end up in the oil, they are within the seed, but the oil is refined and extracted," Dzisiak said. "You really don't retain any of those products that are generated by the plant biotechnology process."

Approximately 85 percent of canola today has either the Roundup Ready or the Liberty tolerant gene trait. Canola herbicide tolerant biotechnology traits have been well accepted.

Producers raising biotech canola have benefited from making fewer trips across the field and reducing their herbicide load.

Creating biotech DHA canola could also help reduce the pressure of wild fish harvesting.

"We can produce a greater amount of DHA than what we could before, without having to increase fish harvesting, in a very sustainable and very productive way that is directly targeted to the food system and towards benefiting consumers," said Dzisiak. "There is really a very good direct consumer health benefit by making this oil more widely available and more cost effective."

Dow AgroSciences and Martek have already made research progress. A timeline for commercialization of DHA canola is not yet available.

"It's going to be in the medium term as to when it's going to be available," said Dzisiak. "As we get closer, we'll be able to talk more about it."

By making DHA canola, the companies intend to provide consumers with ready access to one of the most effective omega-3 fatty acids.

"It's a great example of how agricultural technology can have an impact on our health and on our lives," he said. "That's what agriculture is all about."

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Desert plant may hold key to surviving food shortage

- University of Liverpool (press release), June 19, 2008

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-06/uol-dpm061908.php

The plant, Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi, is unique because, unlike normal plants, it captures most of its carbon dioxide at night when the air is cooler and more humid, making it 10 times more water-efficient than major crops such as wheat. Scientists will use the latest next-generation DNA sequencing to analyse the plant's genetic code and understand how these plants function at night.

The project will generate a genome sequence database that will be used as an Internet resource for plant biologists throughout the world.

The research comes at a time when farmland across the globe normally used for growing food such as rice and wheat is being taken over by bio-fuel crops used for bioethanol production as a petrol substitute. Scientists believe that the novel genes found in Kalanchoe could provide a model of how bio-fuel plants could be grown on un-utilised desert and semi-arid lands, rather than on fertile farmland needed for producing food.

Biological scientist, Dr James Hartwell, said: "There is a lot of concern over food shortage at the moment, with more farmland being commandeered for bio-fuels. As a result of changes in our climate the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted a large expansion of arid regions so there is an increasing need for new crop varieties that can be productive in deserts.

"Kalanchoe is a good example of how plants can flourish in harsh environments. If we can understand how it is able to photosynthesise using much less water than current crops, we may be able to use its genetic code to develop a crop able to withstand harsh environmental conditions. It is essential that farmland be returned to food production."

The genetic code of the plant will be deciphered using a DNA sequencing machine that uses an enzyme found in fireflies as a flash light to help read the DNA strand.

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NC State University Maps Tobacco Genome

- North Carolina State University (press release), June 19, 2008

http://news.ncsu.edu/news/2008/06/dctobaccogenome.php

North Carolina State University scientists have completed a nearly five-year, $17.6 million effort to map the genome of tobacco.

With completion of the Tobacco Genome Initiative, which was funded by Philip Morris USA, the genetic information that makes a tobacco plant a tobacco plant will be made available to the public, said Dr. Charles Opperman, plant pathology professor and co-director of the project. Dr. Steven Lommel, interim associate dean for research for the NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and university assistant vice chancellor for research, also directed the effort.

Opperman said the genetic information will be available online through the National Institutes of Health National Center for Biotechnology Information GenBank Web site, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Genbank/index.html, and on an NC State University Web site, http://www.tobaccogenome.org/.

The genome of an organism is the genetic blueprint for that organism. The genomes of all living things are made up of DNA, which in turn is composed of molecules called bases or nucleotides. The sequence in which these bases - which are identified by the letters A, G, T, C - appear determines the identity of an organism. The genomes of an oak tree and a black bear are both made up of the same four bases. It is the order, or sequence, in which the bases appear that distinguishes an oak tree from a black bear.

Scientists in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State determined the nucleotide sequence of the gene space of tobacco, the part of the tobacco genome that contains genes and genetic coding that controls genes. Opperman said the tobacco genome contains approximately 4.5 billion bases, which is 1.5 times the size of the human genome; however, only 20 to 25 percent of a tobacco plant's genome is considered gene space.

The gene space of a tobacco variety called Hicks was sequenced. Hicks is a variety of broadleaf, flue-cured tobacco, and it was suggested for the project by NC State tobacco breeders and Philip Morris USA because it has been used in breeding widely grown tobacco varieties.

Opperman said that the Tobacco Genome Initiative identified sections, or regions, of the sequence that are likely to be genes. He estimated the project identified greater than 95 percent of tobacco's genes.

While the project identified portions of the tobacco genome thought to be genes, it did not necessarily determine what the genes do.

"We can probably assign identity to about half the genes," Opperman said. "And we can speculate on what they do."

He added, "A good example is resistance genes." These are genes that help the tobacco plant survive, or resist, a disease, pest or other assault. "We can identify lots of things that look like resistance genes, but don't know what they do. That's for other people to figure out."

Opperman estimated that tobacco has about 36,000 genes.

Tobacco is widely used as a model for a range of plant studies, Lommel pointed out, so the information provided by the project should provide valuable insight to plant scientists working with plants other than tobacco. The information provided by the project will aid scientists studying how other plant species develop, yield and resist pests and pathogens.

Tobacco's genetic blueprint should be particularly useful in studies of crops such as tomatoes, potatoes and peppers, which, like tobacco, are solanaceous plants and are similar genetically.

Tobacco becomes one of a handful of plants whose gene catalog has been sequenced. The genome of rice has been sequenced, as have the genomes of Arabidopsis, Medicago truncatula and Lotus Japonicus, all of which are used as models in scientific studies. Sequencing of a range of other plants, including corn, soybean, tomato and potato is underway.

Opperman said Orion Genomics, a St. Louis, Mo., company, played a key role in the project. NC State contracted with Orion for use of the company's proprietary Gene Thresher technology, which identifies gene-rich regions of a genome.

"Orion was a great partner," Opperman said.

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NFU welcomes moves for debate on GM crops role

- Sam Wood, The Journal (Newcastle), June 20, 2008

http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/farming-news/farming-news/2008/06/20/nfu-welcomes-moves-for-debate-on-gm-crops-role-51140-21109052/

The National Farmers Union has welcomed moves by the Government to start a debate about a greater role for GM crops. As world food prices continue to rise, Environment Minister Phil Woolas said yesterday that he wants a debate on the benefits of GM crops in offering greater yields, particularly in the developing world.

A spokesman for the NFU said: "We are pleased the Defra minister is finally talking about GM crops in an open, pragmatic and science-based way.

"We sincerely hope this indicates a real change in Government thinking and a move away from the highly politicised and emotive way this issue has been dealt with during the last decade.

"The reality is that GM technology is not new and it has been applied to commercial agriculture around the world for more than 12 years.

"In the context of increasing food prices as well as fuel, we are pleased that the benefits of reduced inputs and increased yields by improving crops using GM technology are finally being recognised as a benefit for both consumers and the environment."

This week, Mr Woolas said: "There is a growing question of whether GM crops can help the developing world out of the current food price crisis.

"It is a question that we as a nation need to ask ourselves. The debate is already under way.

"Many people concerned about poverty in the developing world and the environment are wrestling with this issue."

Mr Woolas has reportedly held talks with the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, an umbrella group formed in 2000 to promote the role of biotechnology in agriculture. Ministers argue there is a growing body of evidence that GM crops are safe.

Biotech crops, including corn and soybeans that have been genetically modified to resist insects or disease, have been widely grown in the US for years.

The Government has already decided that there is no scientific case for a blanket ban on GM crops, but following heated public debate about so-called "Frankenstein foods" it made clear in 2004 that commercial planting would go ahead only on a case-by-case basis if it can be shown to be safe for humans and the environment.

There is no commercial cultivation of GM plants in the UK at present, and only one trial is under way, involving potatoes in Cambridgeshire.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to argue in favour of cost cuts for GM products used in animal feed at the EU summit in Brussels later.

Mr Brown is also expected to urge fellow leaders to look again at GM as a way of reducing the cost of food for the world's poorest countries.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "It has always been the Government's position, and continues to be the Government's position, that GM crops could offer a range of benefits over the longer term.

"As Phil Woolas has also reiterated, it is also our position that safety is the top priority and that GM crops are to be considered on a case-by-case basis, based entirely on the science," added the spokeswoman.

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EU food/feed industries want GMO flexibility

- AllAboutFeed.net, June 16, 2008

http://www.allaboutfeed.net/home/id102-55011/eu_foodfeed_industries_want_gmo_flexibility.html

Europe's grain and food sector have joined forces to demand tolerance for minimal amounts of genetically modified material not yet allowed in EU markets.

EU feedmakers have long complained of problems sourcing raw material, warning that the consequences of Europe's extreme caution and "zero tolerance" of unauthorised GMOs, could be disastrous for the food and feed sectors.

Europe's food safety chief Markos Kyprianou has already promised to draft a proposal before early August that would permit very limited amounts - less than one percent - of unauthorised GM material to be detected in imports of foods like maize, rice and soybeans.

EU law sets a threshold of 0.9 percent for GM material in food and feed, above which a cargo must be labelled as biotech.

"It is simply impossible to guarantee the total absence of GM traces from countries where GM crops are widely grown," said Ruth Rawling, chairwoman of the food and feed safety unit at Coceral, the EU's major grain trade lobby, in a statement.

The problem for GM crop-growing countries, in particular the United States, Canada and Argentina, is that EU law at the moment does not tolerate the accidental presence of unauthorised GMOs that have been approved elsewhere.

That has led to cargoes of rice and grain arriving at EU ports being impounded by local authorities if sampling shows the presence of unauthorised GM material, disrupting trade flows.

The statement was published jointly by Coceral, the EU's main food industry association CIAA, animal feed manufacturers' body FEFAC, the Federation of European Rice Millers, as well as flour and maize millers' associations.

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French constitutional court upholds GMO law

- James Mackenzie, Reuters, June 19, 2008

http://uk.reuters.com/article/rbssIndustryMaterialsUtilitiesNews/idUKL193996820080619

PARIS - France's constitutional council approved the main points of a law on genetically modified crops on Thursday after opposition Socialists had demanded a review.

The Socialists and environmentalists said the bill blurred the line between natural and genetically modified organisms (GMO) but the constitutional council ruled that it conformed with the constitution.

"The law, which provides for a preliminary system of authorisation for GMOs and makes their cultivation subject to evaluation, surveillance and control procedures does not fail to respect the principle of precaution when it allows coexistence of GMO and non-GMO crops," it said in a statement.

The Socialists and environmental campaigners had sought a complete overhaul of the law, which they say is too favourable to the interests of biotech companies such as U.S. giant Monsanto.

The council ordered the government to amend one article concerning the types of information an applicant for a licence would have to provide.

But the environment ministry said that would not stop the law, passed earlier this year after a tumultuous passage through parliament, from coming into force before the end of the year.

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Genetically engineered plants and foods: A scientist's analysis of the issues (Part I)

- Peggy G. Lemaux, Annual Review of Plant Biology (vol. 59), 2008

http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/eprint/9Ntsbp8nBKFATMuPqVje/full/10.1146/annurev.arplant.58.032806.103840?cookieSet=1

Abstract: Through the use of the new tools of genetic engineering, genes can be introduced into the same plant or animal species or into plants or animals that are not sexually compatible-the latter is a distinction with classical breeding. This technology has led to the commercial production of genetically engineered (GE) crops on approximately 250 million acres worldwide. These crops generally are herbicide and pest tolerant, but other GE crops in the pipeline focus on other traits. For some farmers and consumers, planting and eating foods from these crops are acceptable; for others they raise issues related to safety of the foods and the environment. In Part I of this review some general and food issues raised regarding GE crops and foods will be addressed. Responses to these issues, where possible, cite peer-reviewed scientific literature. In Part II to appear in 2009, issues related to environmental and socioeconomic aspects of GE crops and foods will be covered.

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A critical assessment of the effects of Bt transgenic plants on parasitoids

- Mao Chen, Jian-Zhou Zhao, et. al., PLOS One, May 28, 2008

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2409141

Abstract: The ecological safety of transgenic insecticidal plants expressing crystal proteins (Cry toxins) from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) continues to be debated. Much of the debate has focused on nontarget organisms, especially predators and parasitoids that help control populations of pest insects in many crops. Although many studies have been conducted on predators, few reports have examined parasitoids but some of them have reported negative impacts. None of the previous reports were able to clearly characterize the cause of the negative impact. In order to provide a critical assessment, we used a novel paradigm consisting of a strain of the insect pest, Plutella xylostella (herbivore), resistant to Cry1C and allowed it to feed on Bt plants and then become parasitized by Diadegma insulare, an important endoparasitoid of P. xylostella. Our results indicated that the parasitoid was exposed to a biologically active form of the Cy1C protein while in the host but was not harmed by such exposure. Parallel studies conducted with several commonly used insecticides indicated they significantly reduced parasitism rates on strains of P. xylostella resistant to these insecticides. These results provide the first clear evidence of the lack of hazard to a parasitoid by a Bt plant, compared to traditional insecticides.

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Transgenics and the Poor: Biotechnology in Development Studies

- Ronald J Herring, ed., Routledge (paperback - ISBN 978-0-415-46876-3), 2008

http://www.routledge.com/books/Transgenics-and-the-Poor-isbn9780415380102

Genetic engineering is changing the terrain of development studies. Technologies with unprecedented potential - the capacity to move genes across species - have created widely politicized phenomena: ‘Frankenfoods’, ‘GMOs’, and ‘The Terminator’. En masse, the public has reacted with equanimity or appreciation to genetically engineered pharmaceuticals, beginning with insulin, but transgenics in food and agriculture have raised a globally contentious politics.

This book begins with the needs of the poor - for income, nutrition, environmental integrity - and evaluates the theory and evidence for contributions from transgenic crops. Social scientists with expertise in regional studies, economics, sociology, agriculture and political science join biologists to bring specialized knowledge on genuinely new questions created by the genomics revolution; questions of:

+ ecological integrity
+ biodiversity
+ international trade
+ the costs and effectiveness of biosafety protocols.

The authors collectively conclude that predictions of disaster for the poor from transgenic technology are uninformed by empirical results, rest on misunderstandings of biotechnology or the poor or both, or get the science wrong. Yet the triumphalism of pro-transgenic forces, however, must be tempered by serious unanswered questions: much is unknown, but the transgenic genie is out of the bottle.

In this much-needed book, an emergent empirical literature allows scholars in disciplines ranging from micro-biology to economics and political science to assess the potential effects of transgenic organisms on poverty through multiple dynamics of property, yields, prices, biodiversity, environmental integrity and nutrition.

---------

Guest ed. note: This book, which is also a special edition of the Journal of Development Studies, has been awarded the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize. The award will be announced in Volume 44, No. 9 of the Journal.

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Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear

- Dan Gardner, June 21, 2008

http://www.dangardner.ca/Columns.html

Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear has now been published in the United Kingdom (Virgin), Canada (McClelland and Stewart), and Australia (Scribe). In July, it will be released in the United States as The Science of Fear (Dutton).

Click here for a quick look at the book: http://www.mcclelland.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780771032998

And here for a Q and A with the author: http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/readersgroup/qanda0803.htm

The Economist declares Risk is "an excellent work... a cheery corrective to modern paranoia."

The Guardian says it is "an invaluable resource for anyone who aspires to think clearly." Others agree. Have a look at all the reviews.

To purchase Risk in the UK, click here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Risk-Science-Politics-Dan-Gardner/dp/1905264151/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208360360&sr=8-1

In Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Risk-Science-Politics-Dan-Gardner/dp/0771032994/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208360399&sr=8-1

In Australia: http://www.readings.com.au/product/9781921215674/risk-the-science-and-politics-of-fear

In the United States, The Science of Fear is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Science-Fear-Shouldnt-Ourselves-Greater/dp/0525950621/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208360613&sr=8-2

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Infection research within organic bred pigs

- Pigprogress.net, June 19, 2008

http://www.pigprogress.net/home/id1602-56807/infection_research_within_organic_bred_pigs.html

Animals reared in natural, outdoor conditions without modern drugs may not necessarily yield healthier meat according to research published in the New Scientist.

Researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus tested US pigs for antibodies - telltale signs of infection - to pathogens that can also affect humans. They found traces of Salmonella in 39 per cent of pigs raised in standard indoor pens and routinely given antibiotics, but in 54 per cent of organic pigs raised outdoors without the drugs.

They also found traces of the parasite Toxoplasma, carried by cats and other animals, in 1 per cent of conventional pigs but 7 per cent of free-range animals.

Trichinella

Furthermore, the US team found two organic pigs with signs of infection with Trichinella, a roundworm that can cause chronic disease and even kill when people eat undercooked pork. Trichinella is nearly eradicated in livestock in the the US and Europe, though it persists in wildlife. Finding it in two pigs of the 600 tested is 23 times its average frequency in US pigs.

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GMOs Eliminated by 4 Year Old

- Daniel S. Corrigan, Certified Body Ecologist, Corganic (blog), June 21, 2008

http://blog.corganic.com/2008/06/gmos-eliminated-by-4-year-old.html

Four year old Adam Corrigan talks to Health Beat about the dangers of genetically modified foods.

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Guest ed. disclaimer: The video at this link may be profoundly disturbing for some viewers, and discretion is advised.

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*by Andrew Apel, guest editor, andrewapel+at+wildblue.net