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Date:

August 3, 2000

Subject:

Reply from Mae-Wan Ho

 

Dear Mae Wan Ho

I have read your letter to the Brasilian President in which you state that
'genetic engineering technology,at least, at this stage of development, is
inherently uncontrollable, unpredictable as well as hazardous.'

You are making this statement without a shred of coherent, consistent,
joined-up and reliable scientific backing. I have attempted to read your
polemics against genetic engineering and find them almost indigestible,
full of plausible half-digested and pasted-together 'facts' about genes
and genetics, taken out of context and apposed together like a pastiche or
collage, spuriously seeming to give a coherent and well-argued logical and
progressive argument leading inevitably to the conclusion that genetic
engineering is the biggest danger to us and the world ahead.

If genetic changes are really so uncontrollable, unpredictable and
hazardous, why are you not talking about the entirely 'natural' processes
of genetic recombination, gene jumping, plasmid and viral sequence
integration and mobilisation, limitation of genetic mutability and so on
that actually keep life going. To claim and assert that all genetic
engineering is hazardous is irresponsible, dangerous and deceitful. Please
stop this kind of pseudoscientific propagandising against a technology
that is so far delivering very good products into the market without any
sign of hazard to humans or the environment, compared with already
existing 'natural' products of gene reassortment. May I also point out
that, though your target is plant biotechnology, your arguments cannot be
limited to this but must also be applied to biopharmaceuticals and the
production of modified antigens for vaccines, where it is clear that great
good has already been done.

Yours sincerely

Mr Meredith Lloyd-Evans, Managing Partner BioBridge Associates & Arcadia
International eeig; 45 St Barnabas Road, Cambridge CB1 2BX tel +44 1223
566850, fax +44 1223 470222