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July 9, 2000


Marker Genes Part II, NGO's, Potato Vaccine


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

Date: Jul 07 2000 17:39:30 EDT
From: Ghose.Monalisa@ic.gc.ca (by way of C. S. Prakash)
Subject: Selectable Marker Genes Part II

Dear Mr. Prakash,

I'd like to thank you and all the participants at the AgBioWorld
listserve. Thus far, I've received numerous responses. Which has spurred
yet another set of questions. This question is more industry oriented:

Personally, I think it would be a good business practice for now, to
remove selectable maker genes - especially antibiotic resistance, since
its so controversial. Once again, I'd like to thank everyone who
responded, and look forward to getting your answers for this set of

Yours sincerely,

Monalisa Ghose
Biotechnology Regulations Researcher
Life Sciences Branch, Industry Canada
235 Queen Street, Room 914-C
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H5

Phone: (613)952-6253
Fax: (613)952-4209

Date: Jul 07 2000 18:38:15 EDT
From: Trasna an Domhain Go Leir
Subject: NGDOs and GMOs

I am currently preparing a briefing document on the role of aid
organisations in agricultural development discussions in the developing
countries. I am particularly interested in the policies of the primary
based in the North on the issue of GM agriculture.

I have noted that all the NGDO policies appear to demand a moratorium on
GM releases either for five years or pending scientific evaluation. Is
there not a single NGDO prepared to support the technological potential of
GMOs? I would be pleased to be proved wrong on this question.

Trasna is an Irish voluntary group established to encourage young people
to develop a human centred approach to development from a local and global
perspective. We welcome technological innovation and believe that the
needs of people in developing countries should be determined by people in
developing countries.

In this vein, we are travelling to India in July to meet farmer's,
scientists, industrialists and local NGOs to hear what they want. We
campaign for global equality NOT pity.

Steve Daley
Trasna an Domhain go Leir
The Elms
+353 87 6894633

Date: Jul 07 2000 17:24:20 EDT
From: Alex Avery
Subject: Another great biotech advance helps humanity

Immunity To Virus Triggered By Vaccine In Potato

Human immunity to a virus has been triggered for the first time by a
vaccine genetically engineered into a potato. The specific virus involved
is the pervasive Norwalk virus -- the leading cause of food-borne illness
in the United States and much of the developed world.

Scientists from the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) for Plant Research at
Cornell University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine at
Baltimore report on the success of the first human clinical trials of the
plant-based vaccine in the latest issue (July 2000) of the Journal of
Infectious Diseases.
"This plant-based vaccine could be the first one readily accepted in the
developed world. It's very exciting," says Charles Arntzen, president and
chief executive of BTI. "It's likely that in the United States, this
Norwalk virus vaccine could easily be the first licensed product based on
our plant biology research."

Arntzen and his colleagues previously conducted a successful clinical
trial in triggering immune response in humans to the bacterium Escherichia
coli through a transgenic potato vaccine. The results were ublished in
Nature Medicine in 1998. The first of three stages of human clinical
trials for the Norwalk virus plant-based vaccine began in April 1999 and
was conducted at the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of
Maryland. Volunteers ate two or three doses of BTI-developed transgenic,
raw potato
containing the viral antigen. Overall, 19 of the 20 volunteers (95
percent) who ate the transgenic potatoes developed an immune response to
the Norwalk virus.

Before eating the potatoes, the volunteers were tested for Norwalk
antibodies, and all indicated previous exposure to the virus. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that more
than 23 million people in the United States are infected annually by the
Norwalk virus, or by Norwalk-like viruses. That compares to 79,000 cases
resulting from E. coli contamination, 2,500 cases of listeriosis and 1.4
million cases of illness from salmonella.

Norwalk virus received its name in 1968 when nearly 100 students in a
Norwalk, Ohio, school simultaneously came down with nausea, vomiting,
stomach cramps and diarrhea. It was not until four years later that
scientists realized the pathogen was a virus.

Until 1990, scientists and doctors routinely blamed common food-borne
disease symptoms on bacterial pathogens. Microbiologist Mary K. Estes and
others at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston cracked the Norwalk
virus's genetic code 10 years ago, and scientists routinely began testing
for it. The BTI/University of Maryland report, "Human Immune Responses to
a Novel Norwalk Virus Vaccine Delivered in Transgenic Potatoes," was
authored by Arntzen; Estes; Hugh S. Mason, a senior scientist at BTI; and
by Drs. Genevieve Losonsky, Carol O. Tacket, and Myron M. Levine of
University of
Maryland School of Medicine.

Alex A. Avery
Director of Research and Education
Center for Global Food Issues
Hudson Institute
P.O. Box 202
Churchville, VA 24421
(540) 337-6354
fax: (540) 337-8593
email: aavery@rica.net