Home Page Link AgBioWorld Home Page
About AgBioWorld Donations Ag-Biotech News Declaration Supporting Agricultural Biotechnology Ag-biotech Info Experts on Agricultural Biotechnology Contact Links Subscribe to AgBioView Home Page

AgBioView Archives

A daily collection of news and commentaries on

Subscribe AgBioView Subscribe

Search AgBioWorld Search

AgBioView Archives





July 12, 2000


Another Nobel Laureate signs!!! -- Elle Magazine,


AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

Date: Jul 12 2000 13:06:35 EDT
From: "C. S. Prakash"
Subject: Another Nobelist Endorses Agbioworld Declaration on Ag Biotech!

Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 12:00:13 -0600
From: Paul D Boyer
Subject: Declaration on Ag Biotech

Dear Dr. Prakash

The Public Affairs Officer for FASEB, Peter Farnham, has informed me about
your proposed declaration. It makes a clear and needed statement. I feel
that scientific societies and scientists have not communicated
satisfactorily to the public and to responsible governmental officials in
this regard. I am thus pleased to add my name to those endorsing the

Paul D. Boyer
Nobel Laureate, Chemistry, 1997

Subj: Re: ELLE mag article grossly misrepresents biotech
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 2:44:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: MsGreenLady@aol.com

FYI, another email address to try for letters to the editor of ELLE is:


Jenny Lord

Subj: RE: ELLE mag article grossly misrepresents biotech
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 4:41:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Meyer, Sandra"

I have written to Elle regarding this article, and found that the e-mail
address ellemag@aol.com was defunct; on their web site there is a
"contact us" link that opens an e-mail with the address:
Please be sure to let them know that they have some work to do to regain
our respect (well, assuming they ever had it).

Sandra E. Meyer
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

Date: Jul 11 2000 15:29:47 EDT
From: Eric Lewis
Subject: Please Help With Biotech Links


I am submitting a list of Food Biotech sites to a news agency. Please
send all you have.

Regards and sincerely,

Eric Lewis

Date: Jul 12 2000 13:03:12 EDT
From: "C. S. Prakash"
Subject:Book on Biotech Food Debate: PANDORA'S PICNIC BASKET

Prof. Alan McHughen of the University of
Saskatchewan in Canada and a member of Agbioview has just released a very
comprehensive book aimed for general public on the biotech food debate. I
have read this wonderful and informative book written in a very easy style
that examines the multifaceted issues confronting this debate, and highly
recommend it to every one,
- Prakash

------------ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Purdy, Publicity Manager
212-726-6113, cjp@oup-usa.org


From the dumping ground of genetically modified foods in the streets of
London to the farthest corners of a cornfield in Nebraska, debate and
passions flare on the research, consumption, and business of GM foods.
Oxford invites readers to open PANDORA'S PICNIC BASKET, the consumer's
guidebook through the science, politics, and legal maze of what the
public, unjustly or not, refer to as "Frankenfood." "A frank, fair, and
highly informative...intelligent, invective-free discussion of the issues
that should be welcomed by consumers confused by the claims and charges of
both sides in the current debate." --Kirkus Reviews "

[T]his balanced, rational, and extensive guide...is stuffed with useful
information, and McHughen has a gift for making complicated concepts
comprehensible. His book is a full- meal deal." --Quill & Quire

Just what is the dirt on GM foods? Are they safe? Genetic modification of
foodstuffs is a multi-billion dollar industry. Can we really believe what
companies like Monsanto, DuPont, Novartis, et al are telling us when they
assure us that these foods are completely safe for consumption? Are
government regulations on GM foods sufficient to protect consumers? How
far have we strayed from nature and is there any going back if research
proves these foods to be harmful? Are scientists putting fish genes in my
tomatoes, Brazilian nut genes and or pig genes in soya beans? Why? What
are the benefits of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), if any?

In PANDORA'S PICNIC BASKET: The Potential and Hazards of Genetically
Modified Foods, Alan McHughen, having developed genetically modified
plants, gives him first-hand experience of the technologies involved and
regulatory processes internationally and therefore provides a clear and
coherent picture of the promise and dangers associated with GM foods. From
environmental concerns to issues in labeling, McHughen explodes the myths
and reveals the true risks, as well as benefits, of utilizing GM
technology. Adept at clearly communicating concepts involved with genetic
engineering and molecular genetics, McHughen provides an insider's guide
to scientific principles for laymen concerned with what they are putting
in their mouths and on their tables. Frustrated by the lack of coherent,
factual evidence presented by both sides in the highly emotional, if not
volatile, debate regarding genetically modified food, McHughen presents
the facts on: How GM foods are produced The potential danger GM foods pose
to consumers The benefits to farmers and pesticide ridden fields The
promise GM technology holds for underdeveloped countries Food labeling
conundrums Science and government regulation Although McHughen, himself,
holds a patent on a GMO (genetically modified organism), he ultimately
considers himself a consumer advocate.

PANDORA'S PICNIC BASKET is rife with information, including web sites,
government agencies, scientific and other organizations and companies
concerned with GM technology. Balanced and fair in presentation of the
issues, and rational in discussion of the facts, PANDORA'S PICNIC BASKET
is the essential guide source for all involved, interested, or concerned
with what genetic engineers are doing to our food.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan McHughen is a Professor and Senior Research
Scientist at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, is Chair of the
International Biosafety Advisory Committee and on the Executive Board of
the Genetics Society of Canada. He himself has developed genetically
modified plants, giving him first-hand experience of the technologies
involved and regulatory processes in all countries.

PANDORA'S PICNIC BASKET The Potential and Hazards of Genetically Modified
Foods Alan McHughen $25.00, 277 pgs. ISBN: 019-850674-0 Publication date:
August 10, 2000 Tour cities: New York, Boston, New Haven, Washington DC,
Madison, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Kansas City, Denver/Boulder, Seattle,
Portland, San Francisco, LA/Pasadena, San Diego

To set up an interview with Alan McHughen contact Purdy, Publicity Manager
212-726-6113, or cjp@oup-usa.org

Date: Jul 11 2000 17:30:19 EDT
From: "Meyer, David"
Subject: Substantial equivalence called into question

I have been made aware of Joe Cummins' calling the substantial equivalence
of BT corn to non-BT corn into question.

Does anyone have any more information about this report which apparently
made at the ASM meeting in May? It is somewhat curious that the write-up
presented here does not appear on the ASM website, even though some fairly
non-surprising findings presented at the meeting are presented at the ASM

The url: http://www.txinfinet.com/ban-gef/00/7/7-9.HTML

The text of Cummins' message:

Date: 8 Jul 2000 08:16:40 +0100
From: "jcummins" Subject: Bt Corn is not
substantially equivalent

The report below shows that Bt corn is clearly not substantially equivalent
and since it was permitted for release on that basis it should be
Report American Society for Microbiology Meeting Report
May 2000

Transgenic Corn is Extra Tough Stuff

by Rabiya Tuma

Ground up transgenic corn and rice plants expressing Bacillus
thuringiensis(Bt) protein Cry1Ab, decompose in soil about 10-15% slower
than non-transgenic varieties. This may be better forsoil, as there would
be a higher level of organic matter in the long-term, Deepak Saxena and
his colleagues from the New York University at the 100th Annual Meeting of
American Microbiology Society. Previously, Saxena and his colleagues
showed that Bt toxin leeches from the roots of transgenic corn plants into
the soil. The toxin is lethal to lepidopteran insects (e.g. butterflies
and moths) and remains bioactive in the soil for more than 7 months. In
the light of
these results, the research team wanted to learn whether the transgenic
plant decomposes at a rate similar to the non-transgenic plant.

To measure the decomposition rate, they mixed ground up leaves and stems
from Bt-corn and non-Bt-corn with farm soil at three different
concentrations: 0.5, 1, or 2% plant material by weight relative to that of
the dry soil. They
put the soil-plant mixes into glass jars and measured the amount of CO2
released. They found that in all cases the amount of CO2 released was
significantly lower from the transgenic plant mixtures than for the
non-transgenic stocks.

When Saxena and colleagues performed similar experiments with Bt-rice, the
transgenic varieties also showed lower rates of decomposition relative to
the controls.

"Although it was tempting to suggest that insertion of the Cry1Ab gene
into the plant genome affects the susceptibility ofBt-corn to
biodegredation, there are no data to support this, other than the
observation that the tissues of Bt-corn show greater resistance to
breakage and maceration",
Saxena says. According to Sexena, the Bt-corn is noticeably more rigid
than non-Bt-corn, and often remains standing forlonger. In fact, a
delegate to the conference approached Sexena, remarking that only the
Bt-corn was still standing in his father's field from last year, the rest
of it long since down. He commented that, "It feels more like sugar cane
than corn." The reason for the slower degradation of transgenic corn
remainsunknown. Saxena and his team could not detect any difference in the
amountof bacteria and fungi cultured or in enzyme activity in the
plant-soilmixtures. Adjusting the levels of carbon and nitrogen in the
samples did not alter the relative rates of decomposition in the samples

Sexena points out that, the slower decomposition could be good for the
soils since there would be a higher level of organicmatter for a longer
period of time.
and he'll believe you;
tell him a bench has wet paint and he has to touch it."