MORE SCIENTISTS WANT TO SEE GMO RESEARCH CONTINUED
September 13, 2000 The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
Graham J. Scoles, Professor and head, Department of plant sciences U of S,
writes that the issue of scientific support for genetically engineered
crops is not as cut and dried as the letter Scientists demand GMO
moratorium (SP Sept. 7) would suggest.
The letter mentions a statement signed by 345 scientists to be submitted
to the State of the World forum. Conspicuously not mentioned was a
petition signed by 2,889 international scientists (as of Sept. 8),
including three Nobel laureates, in support of this technology. In
addition to individuals, major scientific societies such as the U.S.
National Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Royal Society, among many other
scientific and non-scientific organizations (including the Vatican), have
endorsed the technology. Yes, there is now enough food to feed the world
one and a half times over, despite an almost doubling of the world’s
population in the last 40 years. However, this happy state of affairs came
about through the application of our scientific knowledge to inefficient
agricultural practices, leading to improved varieties, cropping practices,
fertilizers and disease and pest control.
As the population continues to increase, food production must increase
also. The international scientific community knows no reason why
genetically engineered crops should not be allowed to continue to help
combat hunger and poverty.
From: Antonio Cordeiro
Subject: Re: NY STATE LEGISLATION ALLERT!!!
NY legislation against Biotechnology might prove to be the best way to
provide a ultimate demonstration of the importance of Biotechnology. In a
few years the absurd of this legislation will be obvious to all USA
including the NY citizens... and the World will understand why scientists
are in favor of this technology.
Prof.Antonio Rodrigues Cordeiro , Emérito Departamento de Genética, Cx.P.
68011, Instituto de Biologia,Univ. Federal do Rio de Janeiro 21944-790,
Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Brasil, E.m.:firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Thailand and Mae Wan-Ho
I have a quick question. As you may know, there is currently a big
upheaval in Thailand. In the last few days, a group of farmers put
together a cross-country trek going from city to city talking about how
GMOs have "unknown consequences" and will destroy biodiversity. Village
elders have put curses on Monsanto. A a mob torched some supposedly GM
cotton in front of city hall. Farmers lodged a criminal complain against
Monsanto with police.
That's just the background. Here is the thing: I came across an article
posted in the anarchist e-press claiming that Mae Wan-Ho was participating
in this cross-country trek of Thai farmers. Does anyone know if she's over
there for sure? The report seemed strange to me; I didn't think preying on
the innocent like this was her style.
Subject: Re: Let Farmers Decide
<< Why is no one raising objections to these choice of Colgate, Coca-Cola,
Cadbury's being made available to farmers? >>
Plenty of people are raising objections to the cultural invasion of
western capitalism in all its forms. Are the farmers' lives better because
of Cadbury's chocolates? Did the farmer's invite Coca Cola into their
communities? How well equipped are Asian rural communities to deal with
the onslaught of commercially driven new items? From what sources are they
receiving information on which to base their decisions? Is your concept of
choice: 1) commercially-motivated, western-designed industrial
'development' or 2) no change whatever? What about development options?
Maybe even non-GM ones? Or is that not an allowable choice ?
Indeed, let them choose, but let them be honestly and completely informed
- something I have seen nowhere in India. This is the first problem. The
corporations producing GM seeds have shown themselves to be untrustworthy
enough to cause suspicion of their motivations. This has hurt the truly
beneficial aspects of GM to be seen apart from the negative aspects of
industrial agriculture. The Indian government has little credibility with
the population. Industrial agriculture has ruined as much traditional
sustainable agriculture in India as it has produced more quantities of
crop monocultures. It's history isn't all success. Any suggestions on how
India should handle its glut of wheat this year? I don't seem to hear it
being distributed to the hungry. JH
by William H. R. Langridge
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. SEPTEMBER 2000
(Introduction Below. See the website for complete article......CSP)
Vaccines have accomplished near miracles in the fight against infectious
disease. They have consigned smallpox to history and should soon do the
same for polio. By the late 1990s an international campaign to immunize
all the world's children against six devastating diseases was reportedly
reaching 80 percent of infants (up from about 5 percent in the mid-1970s)
and was reducing the annual death toll from those infections by roughly
Yet these victories mask tragic gaps in delivery. The 20 percent of
infants still missed by the six vaccines--against diphtheria, pertussis
(whooping cough), polio, measles, tetanus and tuberculosis--account for
about two million unnecessary deaths each year, especially in the most
remote and impoverished parts of the globe. Upheavals in many developing
nations now threaten to erode the advances of the recent past, and
millions still die from infectious diseases for which immunizations are
nonexistent, unreliable or too costly.
This situation is worrisome not only for the places that lack health care
but for the entire world. Regions harboring infections that have faded
from other areas are like bombs ready to explode. When environmental or
social disasters undermine sanitation systems or displace
communities--bringing people with little immunity into contact with
carriers--infections that have been long gone from a population can come
roaring back. Further, as international travel and trade make the earth a
smaller place, diseases that arise in one locale are increasingly popping
up continents away. Until everyone has routine access to vaccines, no one
will be entirely safe.
In the early 1990s Charles J. Arntzen, then at Texas A&M University,
conceived of a way to solve many of the problems that bar vaccines from
reaching all too many children in developing nations. Soon after learning
of a World Health Organization call for inexpensive, oral vaccines that
needed no refrigeration, Arntzen visited Bangkok, where he saw a mother
soothe a crying baby by offering a piece of banana. Plant biologists had
already devised ways of introducing selected genes (the blueprints for
proteins) into plants and inducing the altered, or "transgenic," plants to
manufacture the encoded proteins. Perhaps, he mused, food could be
genetically engineered to produce vaccines in their edible parts, which
could then be eaten when inoculations were needed.
The advantages would be enormous. The plants could be grown locally, and
cheaply, using the standard growing methods of a given region. Because
many food plants can be regenerated readily, the crops could potentially
be produced indefinitely without the growers having to purchase more seeds
or plants year after year. Homegrown vaccines would also avoid the
logistical and economic problems posed by having to transport traditional
preparations over long distances, keeping them cold en route and at their
destination. And, being edible, the vaccines would require no
syringes-which, aside from costing something, can lead to infections if
they become contaminated.