Subj: Biotech Revolution
DATELINE AMSTERDAM JUNE 12, 2000 (Agence Deutsche Presse)
Scientists in the Amsterdam-based Biotech Zentrum, aided by
previous advances in plant and medical biotechnology, have
succeeded in producing marijuana (Cannabis sativa) plants
which produce 100 times as much THC.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active ingredient in
marijuana, and it has been used by native cultures around
the world for thousands of years for medicinal, religious
and recreational purposes. The substance has lately been the
subject of numerous experiments at medical hospitals, as it
has been shown in clinical trials to alleviate nausea and
other adverse reactions associated with chemotherapy for
Using site-directed mutagenesis, also known as
"chimeraplasty," Dr. Wim van Halder and colleagues at the
Biotech Zentrum used research from the US-based Nokomis
Biochemistry Project to target a genetic promoter in the
marijuana plant which leaves the THC-producing gene
permanently in the "on" position, vastly increasing the
drug-like powers of the plant.
At the Amsterdam headquarters of Greenpeace, a $120-million
multinational activist group located immediately across the
street from Biotech Zentrum, opinions were mixed about the
development. "This superweed is wicked," said Chuck
Margelues, Greenpeace's specialist on genetic engineering.
"Anything this like totally bad could give me totally
unknown consequences," he added.
"In accordance with the precautionary principle," said
Margelues, "It is imperative that we have properly conducted
trials of this superweed, carefully restricted to Amsterdam
Greenpeace staff under controlled conditions where we can
monitor its impact on their intake on snack foods. We
already have a large control group of human volunteers on
site who are ready to compare their long-term intake of THC
with the stupendous impact of this totally bad weed."
Vandana Shiva, during a luncheon in New Delhi, said about
the development: "It is about time that the native wisdom of
religions and so on have finally been acknowledged by male
rapist scientists and people like that. We must make this
technology available to the developing nations. Surely, all
women with a knowledge of herbs understand this will give
starving millions the munchies, and they won't be so
appallingly skinny any more. Every mother knows a proper
appetite will fix them proper and they'd be right as rain,
Security officials preparing for riots at the US Democratic
and Republican conventions were much more skeptical. "We've
seen what these people do when they smoke [marijuana] in
Seattle, Boston, Washington, London, Genoa, Berlin, Windsor
and Detroit," said one police official, who asked not to be
identified. "Even without this superweed, they are breaking
into McDonalds' restaurants. What will they do if they get
Bob Smarms, of the London branch of Friends of the Earth,
said the group had a secret source of the genetically
engineered (GE) marijuana which they could not reveal.
"Man," he said, "If pollen from this stuff like got around
and escaped with its genes and stuff, you know, got on
vegetables or even on cows and things, we could mellow out
on this bio-DNA contro-debate."
To: Francis Wevers <
Re: Biotech in New Zealand
Dear Dr. Wevers:
I have followed the biotech "debate" in New Zealand with much interest.
that your Royal Commission meets with success. The eco-reactionaries
already for a month and a half demanded that the Commission impose a
on biotech, while 113 biotech experiments in NZ have been declared
and many scientists are considering fleeing the country because
eat up more than half of their research budgets.
I would point out that in the US, the National Academies of Science
an experiment similar to that which the Royal Commission is about to
The US experiment included both scientists and activists, and generated
which delivered what activists have been demanding for years. To the
the National Academies, the report was criticized by activists as not
enough, and used as a basis for a lawsuit against the US Department of
sponsored by the Amsterdam-based multinational activist group
I wish you well, sir, it is a noble undertaking; but the activists do
they want the continuation of a controversy which swells their coffers
and expands their political influence. I would gladly offer you hope in
this effort if I credibly could do so. I cannot.
Andrew Apel, editor
Francis Wevers wrote:
> I have read with interest comments from subscribers about the
> outcome to the global debate about GE.