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December 11, 2000


Detailed Response to "GM Myths"; Anti-Science Activists


Myth 1: GMOs are needed to “feed the world”.

> People are hungry because they are poor, not because there's not
>enough food. And if they can't afford to buy conventional food,
>they'll hardly be able to afford GM food.

No. People are hungry because they can not grow enough food to feed
themselves locally. This is for a variety of reasons. For example insects
devastate their crops and they can not afford insecticides to protect the

If they were to grow a GM Bt crop then they would get insecticide for
free and be able to produce more food. In this way can GM food help feed
the poor.

Another reason is losses during storage of the grains due to insect
attack or rotting of the food in storage. This is because the poor can not
afford the expensive silos and treatments required to reduce losses of
this nature. If the crops were GM they could be made to resist insect
damage and spoilage. In this way GM food can help feed the poor.

There may be just enough food on the planet at the moment to feed
everyone if it was distributed better. However, it isn't distributed
better because of poverty. As indicated above GM crops could help with the
food distribution problem by allowing the poor to produce more food. GM
is a method of crop improvement. It does not necessarily mean more
expensive, as we have seen from the golden rice project, where the
technology is given away free to the poor.

I welcome the day when there is not poverty in the world. In the meantime
we must improve the food production in the world to feed the poor. GM is
one means to achieve this.

There may be just enough food on the planet at the moment to feed
everyone if it was distributed better. But even if a miracle happened
tonight and the food was distributed better what are we going to do to
improve food production in the future when the population is larger? a)
let the excess starve to death, b) hope that population growth will
stabliise and do nothing else and wait for a) to happen if it does not
work or c) hope that population growth will stabliise and in the meantime
research into ways to produce more food in a more sustainable fashion. >
>Myth 2: GMO use will benefit farmers. > > >According to the US National
Academy of Sciences, genetically modified >herbicide-resistant soybean is
less profitable than conventionally bred >varieties. Yields were found to
be 6-10% lower for GM crops.

Not all GM crops are herbicide-resistant soybean. There may be many
reasons why these soybeans are lower yielding. I challenge the authors to
present any data on any of the other countless GM crops that show a
reduced yield.

> Claims that the need for herbicides will decrease with the use of
>herbicide-resistant crops were also found to be invalid. Instead, the
>use of the herbicide Roundup increased considerably between 2-10 times

At the expense of far more environmentally damaging herbicides. The
Environmental Defence fund gives glyphosate a "Less hazardous than most
chemicals in 6 ranking systems." Check it out your self.
<http://www.scorecard.org/ So if glyphosate use goes up at the expense of
more damaging herbicides this is a good outcome.

>In many farms, the herbicide use was 10 times larger than on many
>farms using integrated weed management systems. The weeds had become
>resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

Reference? As far as I know there is only a few known cases of glyphosate
resistant weeds and these were found in Australia. (BTW no herbicide
tolerant crops have yet been grown commercially in Australia so the
appearance of glyphosate R weeds is unrelated to GM crops in this case)

>Scientists have speculated that the decrease in productivity may be
>due to genetic engineering reducing the efficiency with which plants
>use energy, as the energy usage associated with the >inserted gene in
>GM plants is not >regulated according to the need of the plant. This
>energy >misuse may be even greater in the case of GM crops >incorporating
the Bt toxin as in-built >pesticide -- the plant is
>putting a lot of energy into producing the Bt protein, 24 hours a day
>>whether it is needed or not.

So how come no Bt crops have shown reduced yield and it is only HR
soybeans that show this effect?

> The promotion of GMOs will only make farmers more dependent on the
>giant agribusinesses. Farmers, even in the First World, work with
> very low profit margins (the National Farmers >Federation estimates
>it at 2-3% in this country) but with very high overheads for inputs
>such as machinery, storage, processing and fertilisers.

If the farmer can get the seed for free and keep it afterwards how is
more dependant on the giant multinationals?

>GMOs will increase farmers' input costs. The use of, say, herbicide-
>resistant GM crops will mean the farmer is charged more for the GM
>seed and is then tied to using a particular brand of herbicide, from a
>particular agribusiness, to control weeds. Biotech companies are even
>seeking to develop GM crops whose seed is infertile after one or two
>generations, thereby requiring expensive repurchasing of seed stock.

Well it is obvious that this can not be true. Farmers run a business. If
something makes their business more expensive without a benefit then they
are not going to use it are they?

>Myth 3: The techniques involved in genetic modification are precise.

Biotech companies claim that techniques involved in genetic modification
are MORE precise THAN CONVENTIONAL BREEDING. That is all they claim. It is
a fact the genes introduced by GM are more precisely >understood ( we know
what protein they make, we can test this protein in feeding trials, etc)
than >are the genes introduced by conventional breeding (which can number
in the thousands, from wild relatives of crop plants that may be toxic to

>In neither case is the biologist able to direct, or even know, where
> the introduced genetic >material is placed in the DNA of the host.

Very true. But neither does the conventional breeder. Location does not
matter nearly as much as what gene goes in. If you put a toxic gene in by
conventional breeding or by GM it is still toxic no matter where in the
host DNA it ends up.

>They use antibiotic resistance genes as part of the incorporated
>genetic material, so that the genetically modified cell can be
>selected by treating the cell culture with antibiotic to kill off
>all the cells that don't have the genetic material incorporated into
>their DNA. This, however, does >not mean that the cell resulting from
>this procedure is what's required: almost anything could >have

Almost anything? Such as putting a fish gene into a tomato and ending up
with a fish perhaps???

Almost anything can not happen.

>Biotech giant Monsanto has released data showing that there was extra
>genetic material inserted into its GM soya beans. This was not
>reported in the original applications for release of this GM crop
>and puts a lie to the claims of regulation authorities, such as the
>Australia and New Zealand Food Authority, that their testing methods
>consist of a “rigorous >safety assessment >process”.

Everything is relative. The fact that there was a small piece of
non-functional DNA derived from a bacteria inserted into the crop pales
into insignificance compared to the amount on un-characterized bits of DNA
inserted into conventionally bred crops every day. The GM crops are
subjected to a rigorous safety assessment. They are fed to animals as a
test procedure - something that is not done with conventionally bred

>Myth 4: GMOs are safe. No one really knows whether GMOs are safe or
>not -- so little work has been done on this and even less has been
> released to the public. There has, however, been a lot of opinion
>put out, little of it substantiated. A recent letter in Science m
>agazine reported >on a survey of published scientific databases
>suggested that there are very few published reports containing
>experimental data. A majority of the reports were just the opinion of
>the authors, mostly expressing their belief that GM foods are safe,
>without any experimental data to back up this claim.

Below is a bibliography of 56 publications regarding the safety of GM
food crops. The vast majority of them do have experimental data to back up
their claims. The activists dismiss this list with a wave of the hand and
say that none of this research can be trusted because it has been done by
company scientists or scientists funded by companies. Well this is a
serious accusation. The Calvinists are essentially accusing hundreds of
scientists of fraud. Many of the studies below are done at independent
labs with funds provided by the companies. But how else do you expect to
fund such research? Should the tax payer pay to test the safety of this
food so that the companies can make a profit from them. No. The company
must pay for it and it must be done right. A company will not market a
crop if their testing found it to be dangerous - the lawsuits would
cripple them.

This food has been tested and it is a lie to suggest it has not. If the
activists wish to say that the food has been tested but there has been a
massive cover up of the negative results they can try and make this claim.
But they don't say this. They say it has not been tested which is a lie as
you can see by looking at this bibliography.

1. Aulrich, K., I. Halle and G. Flachowsky. 1998. Inhaltsstoffe und
Verdaulichkeit von MaiskF6rnen der Sorte Cesar und der gentechnisch
verE4nderten Bt-hybride bei Legenhennen. Proc Einfluss von Erzeugung und
Verarbeitung auf die QualitE4t laudwirtschaftlicher Produkte. 465-468.

2. Brake, J. and D. Vlachos. 1998. Evaluation of event 176 "Bt" corn in
broiler chickens. J. Poultry Sci. 77:648-653.

3. Daenicke, R., D. Gadeken and K. Aulrich. 1999. Einsatz von Silomais
herkF6mmlicher Sorten und der gentechnisch verE4nderten Bt Hybriden in
der Rinderfhtterung - Mastrinder -. 12, Maiskolloquium. 40-42.

4. Faust, M. 1998. Determining feeding related characteristics for Bt
corn. 1998 Dairy Report. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

5. Faust, M. and L. Miller. 1997. Study finds no Bt in milk. IC-478. Fall
Special Livestock Edition. pp 6-7. Iowa State University Extension, Ames,

6. Faust, M. 1999. Research update on Bt corn silage. Four State Applied
Nutrition and Management Conference. MWPS-4SD5. 158-164.

7. Folmer, J.D., G.E. Erickson, C.T. Milton, T.J. Klopfenstein and J.F.
Beck. 2000. Utilization of Bt corn residue and corn silage for growing
beef steers. Abstract 271 presented at the Midwestern Section ASAS and
Midwest Branch ADSA 2000 Meeting, Des Moines, IA.

8. Folmer, J.D., R.J. Grant, C.T. Milton and J.F. Beck. 2000. Effect of
Bt corn silage on short-term lactational performance and ruminal
fermentation in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 83 (5):1182 Abstract 272.

9. Halle, I., K. Aulrich and G. Flachowsky. 1998. Einsatz von MaiskF6rnen
der Sorte Cesar und des gentechnisch verE4nderten Bt-Hybriden in der
Broiler mast. Proc. 5. Tagung, Schweine- und GeflhgelernE4hrung,
01,-03.12.1998, Wittenberg p 265-267.

10. Hammond, B., J. Vicini, G. Hartnell, M.W. Naylor, C.D. Knight, E.
Robinson, R. L. Fuchs, and S.R. Padgetteet al. 1996. The feeding value of
soybeans fed to rats, chickens, catfish and dairy cattle is not altered
by genetic incorporation of glyphosate tolerance. J. Nutr. 126: 717-727.

11. Padgette, S., N. Taylor, D. Nider, et al. 1996. The composition of
glyphosate-tolerant soybean seed is equivalent to that of conventional
soybeans. J. Nutr. 126: 702-716.

12. Russell, J. and T. Peterson. 1999. Bt corn and non-Bt corn crop
residues equal in grazing value. Extension News, June 30, 1999. Iowa
State University Extension, Ames.

13. Russell, J.R., M.J. Hersom, A. Pugh, K. Barrett and D. Farnham.
2000. Effects of grazingcrop residues from bt-corn hybrids on the
performance of gestating beef cows. Abstract244 presented at the
Midwestern Section ASAS and Midwest Branch ADSA 2000 Meeting, Des Moines,

14. Russell, J.R., D. Farnham, R.K. Berryman, M.J. Hersom, A. Pugh and
K. Barrett. 2000. Nutritive value of the crop residues from bt-corn
hybrids and their effects on performance of grazing beef cows. 2000 Beef
Research Report -Iowa State University. p 56-61.

15. Sidhu, R.S., B.G. Hammond, R.L. Fuchs, J.N. Mutz, L.R. Holden, B.
George and T. Olson. 2000. Glyphosate-Tolerant Corn: The Composition and
Feeding Value of Grain from Glyphosate-Tolerant Corn is Equivalent to That
of Conventional Corn (Zea Mays L.). J. Agric. Food Chem. 48:2305-2312.

Roundup Ready

16. Characterization of phospholipids from glyphosate-tolerant soybeans
List, G. R.; Orthoefer, F.; Taylor, N.; Nelsen, T.; Abidi, S. L. (Food
Quality and Safety Research, NCAUR, USDA, ARS, Peoria, IL, 61604, USA).
J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc., 76(1), 57-60 1999

17. Compositional Analysis of Glyphosate -Tolerant Soybeans Treated with
Glyphosate Taylor, Nancy B.; Fuchs, Roy L.; MacDonald, John; Shariff,
Ahmed R.; Padgette, Stephen R. (Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO, 63198,
USA). J. Agric. Food Chem., 47(10), 4469-4473 1999

18. The expressed protein in glyphosate-tolerant soybean,
5-enolpyruvylshikimate 3-phosphate synthase from Agrobacterium sp. strain
CP4, is rapidly digested in vitro and is not toxic to acutely gavaged
mice Harrison, Leslie A.; Bailey, Michele R.; Naylor, Mark W.; Ream, Joel
E.; Hammond, Bruce G.; Nida, Debbie L.; Burnette, Barry L.; Nickson,
Thomas E.; Mitsky, Timothy A.; et al. (Monsanto Co., St. Louis, MO,
63198, USA). J. Nutr., 126(3), 728-40 1996

19. The feeding value of soybeans fed to rats, chickens, catfish and
dairy cattle is not altered by genetic incorporation of glyphosate
tolerance. Hammond, Bruce G.; Vicini, John L.; Hartnell, Gary F.; Naylor,
Mark W.; Knight, Christopher D.; Robinson, Edwin H.; Fuchs, Roy L.;
Padgette, Stephen R. (Monsanto Co., St. Louis, MO, 63167, USA). J. Nutr.,
126(3), 717-27 1996.

20. The composition of glyphosate-tolerant soybean seeds is equivalent to
that of conventional soybeans Padgette, Stephen R.; Taylor, Nancy Biest;
Nida, Debbie L.; Bailey, Michele R.; MacDonald, John; Holden, Larry R.;
Fuchs, Roy L. (Monsanto Co., St. Louis, MO, 63198, USA). J. Nutr.,
126(3), 702-16 1996 {3778}

21. Biotechnology and the soybean. Rogers, Stephen G. (Monsanto,
Brussels, Belg.). Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 68(6, Suppl.), 1330S-1332S 1998

22. Assessment of the endogenous allergens in glyphosate -tolerant and
commercial soybean varieties Burks, A. W.; Fuchs, R. L.. Arkansas
Children's Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little
Rock, AR 72202, USA.. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (1995)
Vol. 96, No. 6, 1, pp. 1008-1010

23. Assessment of the allergenic potential of foods derived from
genetically engineered plants: glyphosate tolerant soybean as a case
study Fuchs, R. L.; Eisenbrand, G. [EDITOR]; Aulepp, H. [EDITOR]; Dayan,
A. D. [EDITOR]; Elias, P. S. [EDITOR]; Grinow, W. [EDITOR]; Ring, J.
[EDITOR]; Schlatter, J. [EDITOR]. Ceregen (Monsanto Co.), 700
Chesterfield Parkway North, St. Louis, MO 63198, USA.. Meeting info.:
Food allergies and intolerances: symposium. Food allergies and
intolerances: symposium (1996 ) pp. 212-221. 38 ref Publisher: VCH
Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. Weinheim. ISBN: 3-527-27409-X

24. Safety evaluation of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans Fuchs, R. L.; Re,
D. B.; Rogers, S. G.; Hammond, B. G.; Padgette, S. R.. The Agricultural
Group, Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO 63198, USA. Meeting info.: Food
safety evaluation. Proceedings of an OECD-sponsored workshop held on
12-15 September 1994, Oxford, UK. Food safety evaluation. Proceedings of
an OECD-sponsored workshop held on 12-15 September 1994, Oxford, UK (
1996 ) pp. 61-70. 32 ref Publisher: Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD). Paris. ISBN: 92-64-14867-1

25. Herbicide tolerant soybeans: Why growers are adopting Roundup Ready
varieties. Carpenter, J., Gianessi, L. AgBioForum 2(2), Spring, 1999

Reports from various organisations

26. ACNFP (Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes). 1991.
Department of Health Report on Health and Social Subjects, No. 38.
Guidelines on the Assessment of Novel Foods and Processes. London (HMSO).

27. ADA. 1993. Position of the American Dietetic Association
Biotechnology and the Future of Food. Journal of the American Dietetic
Association. Vol. 93 (2) pp 189.

28. ASEAN, 1998. Primary Production Company (ed) Regulations for
Agricultural Products Derived from Biotechnology. Proceedings of the
ASEAN Workshop, April 1-2, 1998, Singapore.

29. Berberich S.A., J.E. Ream, T.L. Jackson, R. Wood, R. Stipanovic, P.
Harvey, S. Patzer, and R.L. Fuchs. 1996. Safety Assessment of
Insect-Protected Cotton: The Composition of the Cottonseed is Equivalent
to Conventional Cottonseed. J. Agric. Food Chem. 41:365-371.

30. Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association 1991.
Biotechnology and the American agricultural industry. J Amer Med Assoc

31. FAO/WHO, 1991. Strategies for Assessing the Safety of Foods Produced
by Biotechnology. Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Consultation. World Health
Organization, Geneva.

32. FAO/WHO. 1996. Biotechnology and food safety. Report of a Joint
JAO/WHO Consultation. FAO, Food and Nutrition Paper 61, Rome Italy. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA). 1992. Statement of Policy: Foods Derived
from New Plant Varieties. Notice, Federal Register 57:104; 22984-23005.

33. Hammond, B.G., J.L. Vicini, G.F. Hartnell, M.W. Naylor, C.D. Knight,
E. Robinson, R.L. Fuchs and S.R. Padgette. 1996. The Feeding Value of
Soybeans Fed to Rats, Poultry, Catfish and Dairy Cattle is Not Altered by
Incorporation of Glyphosate Tolerance. J. Nutrition 126:717-727.

34. Harrison, L.A., M.R. Bailey, M. Naylor, J. Ream, B. Hammond, D.L.
Nida, B. Burnette, T.E. Nickson, T. Mitsky, M.L. Taylor, R.L. Fuchs and
S.R. Padgette. 1996. The Expressed Protein in Glyphosate-tolerance
Soybean, 5-Enolpryruvyl-shikimate-3-phosphate Synthase from Agrobacterium
sp. Strain CP4, is Rapidly Digested in vitro and is not Toxic to Acutely
Gavaged Mice. J. Nutrition 126:728-740. {3398}

35. Health Council of the Netherlands. 1992. Safety of Food Produced by
New Biotechnology. Publication No. 92.03E. The Hague.

36. Health Protection Branch. 1994. Guidelines for the Safety Assessment
of Novel Foods. Vol. I and II. Health Canada, Ottawa. James, C. 1998.
Global Review of Commericalized Transgenic Crops: 1998. ISAAA Briefs No.
8. ISAAA: Ithaca, NY.

37. Japan Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW). Guidelines for Foods and
Food Additives Produced by the Recombinant DNA Techniques, 1996. (Japan)

38. Lavrik, P.B., Bartnicki, D.E., Feldman, J., Hammond, B.G., Keck,
P.J., Love, S.L., Naylor, M.W., Rogan, G.J., Sims, S.R. and R.L. Fuchs.
1995. Safety Assessment of Potatoes Resistant to Colorado Potato Beetle.
In Genetically Modified Foods, Safety Issues. K.H. Engel, G.R. Takeoka
and R. Teranishi, eds. ACS, Washington, DC, pp 148-158.

39. Nida, D.L., S. Patzer, P. Harvey, R. Stipanovic, R. Wood and R.L.
Fuchs. 1996. Glyphosate-tolerant Cotton: The Composition of the
Cottonseed is Equivalent to Conventional Cottonseed. J. Agric. Food
Chem. 44:1967-1974.

40. Nordic Working Group on Food Toxicology and Risk Evaluation. 1991.
Food and New Biotechnology - Novelty, Safety and Control Aspects of Foods
Made by New Biotechnology. Nordic Council, Copenhagen, Nord 1991:18.
Nutritional Center for Nutrition and Dietetics (NCND) 1996. Food
Biotechnology: safe, nutritious, healthful, abundant, and tasty food.
Nutrition fact sheet. Chicago, Illinois USA.

41. OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). 1993.
Safety Evaluation of Foods Produced by Modem Biotechnology: Concepts and
Principles. OECD, Paris.

42. OECD. 1996. OECD Documents: Food Safety Evaluation. OECD, Paris.
Official Journal of the European Communities. January 27, 1997.
Regulation (EC) No. 258/97 of The European Parliament and of the Council.
No L43-1 p 7.

43. Padgette, S.R., N.B. Taylor, D.L. Nida, M.B. Bailey, J. MacDonald,
L.R. Holden, and R.L. Fuchs. 1996. The Composition of Glyphosate-tolerant
Soybean Seeds is Equivalent to Conventional Soybeans. J. Nutrition

44. Reed, A.J., K.A. Kretzmer, M.W. Naylor, R.F. Finn, K.M. Magin, B.G.
Hammond, R.M. Leimgruber, S.G. Rogers and R.L. Fuchs. 1996. A Safety
Assessment of 1-Aminocyclopropane-1-Carboxylic Acid Deaminase (ACCd)
Protein Expressed in Delayed Ripening Tomatoes. J. Agric. Food Chem.

45. Sanders, P.R., T.C. Lee, M.E. Groth, J.D. Astwood and R.L. Fuchs.
1998. Safety Assessment of the Insect-Protected Corn. In Biotechnology
and Safety Assessment, 2nd edition (Thomas, J.A., editor)

46. Taylor and Francis, pp 241-256. WHO. 1995. Application of the
Principles of Substantial Equivalence to the Safety Evaluation of Foods
and Food Components from Plants Derived by Modern Biotechnology. Report
of a WHO Workshop. World Health Organization, Geneva. WHO/FNU/FOS/95. 1

47. Institute for Economic Affairs. Genetically Modified Nonsense
(comprehensive report on biotech food safety) Thomas R. DeGregori,
University of Houston
Science June 26, 199220 Vol. 256 ; No. 5065 ; Pg. 1747; ISSN:
0036-807520 The safety of foods developed by biotechnology; Policy
Forum20 BY: Kessler, David A. ;

48. Taylor, Michael R. ; Maryanski, James H. ; Flamm, Eric L. ; Kahl,
Linda Nutrition Today June, 1991 Vol. 26 ; No. 3 ; Pg. 15; ISSN:
0029-666X20 Food safety and technology; how engineered food additives
might affect food industry and production to reduce toxins found in food

49. FDA Consumer magazine January-February 2000 Are Bioengineered Foods
Safe?; by Larry Thompson OECD Reports October 1999 The Concept of
Substantial Equivalence in the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods

50. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC 1996 ACS Symposium Series
605 Genetically Modified Food: Safety Issues by Engel, Takeoko,
Teranishi From symposium sponsored by the Division of Agriculture and
Food Chemistry at the 208th National Meeting of the American Chemical
Society, Washington, DC Aug 21-25, 1994. http://www.acs.org
Biotechnology and food safety FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 61 Report of a
Joint FAO/WHO Consultation Rome, Italy, 20 September - 4 October 1996
http://www.fao.org http://www.fao.org/es/esn/biotech/introduc.htm

51. R&D Magazine November 1999 Beachy Speaks About the Safety of
Transgenic Foods; http://www.rdmag.com/features/11soy.htm20

52. Royal Society (UK) 1999 Review of data on possible toxicity of GM
potatoes Source: http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/st_pol54.htm

53. Nutraceuticals International November 1, 1999 NFPA affirms biotech
Biotechnology: Food Security And Safety Focus, Economic Perspectives,
October 1999

54. CHEMTECH. Safety consideration for food ingredients January 1998/
CHEMTECH 1998, 28(1), 40-46.

55. Canadian Newswire Oct 25, 199920 Genetically Enhanced Foods are
Thoroughly Tested for Safety

56. Monsanto Company June 1998 Patricia R. Sanders, Thomas C. Lee, Mark
E. Groth, Jim D. Astwood, and Roy L. Fuchs Safety-Assessment Of
Insect-Protected Corn

>One of the few published reports with experimental data tells of GM
>potatoes, modified to contain a lectin, which were found to have toxic
>effects on rats' organs, including the brain and the immune system.
>Similar tests on rats using non-modified potatoes turned up no such

These potatoes were not in the process of being commercialized and have
not been continued with. All this data shows is that testing GM foods
works. You can spot possible problems using animal tests.

What the activists won't tell you is that Dr Puztai has other publications
which conclude: Pusztai A, Grant G, Bardócz S, Alonso R, Chrispeels MJ,
Schroeder HE, Tabe LM, Higgins TJV (1999) Expression of insecticidal bean
a-amylase inhibitor transgene has minimal detrimental effect on the
nutritional value of peas in the rat at 30% of the diet. J Nutr
129:1597-1603 The effect of expression of bean alpha-amylase inhibitor
(alpha-AI) transgene on the nutritional value of peas has been evaluated
by pair- feeding rats diets containing transgenic or parent peas at 300
and 650 g/kg, respectively, and at 150 g protein/kg diet, supplemented
with essential amino acids to target requirements. The results were also
compared with the effects of diets containing lactalbumin with or without
0.9 or 2.0 mg bean alpha-AI, levels equivalent to those in transgenic pea
diets. When 300 and 650 g peas/kg diet were fed, the daily intake of
alpha-AI was 11.5 or 26.3 mg alpha-AI, respectively. At the 300 g/kg
level, the nutritional value of the transgenic and parent line peas was
not significantly different. The weight gain and tissue weights of rats
fed either of the two pea diets were not significantly different from each
other or from those of rats given the lactalbumin diet even when this was
supplemented with 0.9 g alpha-AI/kg. The digestibilities of protein and
dry matter of the pea diets were slightly but significantly lower than
those of the lactalbumin diet, probably due to the presence of naturally
occurring antinutrients in peas. The differences between transgenic and
parent pea lines were small, possibly because neither the purified
recombinant alpha-AI nor that in transgenic peas inhibited starch
digestion in the rat small intestine in vivo to the same extent as did
bean alpha-AI.

**Thus, this short-term study indicated that transgenic peas expressing
bean alpha-AI gene could be used in rat diets at 300 g/kg level without
major harmful effects on their growth, metabolism and health, raising the
possibility that transgenic peas may also be used at this level in the
diet of farm animals.**

>The researcher, Dr Arpad Pusztai, lost his job after he mentioned the
>experiment during a television interview. His critics claim his work
>was never peer-reviewed -- yet the survey reported in Science also
>found that >none of the articles published by biotechnology companies
>were peer-reviewed either.

This is a not true. Look at the bibliography above and you will see the
vast majority of the publications mentioned are full peer-reviewed
publications in journals. Some reports submitted to FDA, EPA etc are not
peer reviewed by journal editors but you can be sure they are peer
reviewed by the people at FDA and EPA. Might I also point out that a
letter to Science is not peer reviewed and it is quite possible that the
author of the letter quoted here is completely wrong. The bibliography
above shows that he is infarct wrong.

>Myth 5: Genetic engineering poses little or no chance of gene transfer
>to unrelated organisms.

What is claimed is that GE crops pose no more danger of gene transfer to
unrelated organisms as does a conventionally produced crop variety. What
is also claimed is that the frequency of such gene transfer (from GE or
non-GE crops) is very very low.

>Professor Hans-Hinrich Kaatz from Institute for Bee Research at the
>University of Jena >experimented for three years on the effects of GM
>rapeseed (canola) on honey bees -- and found >gene transfer to the
>bacteria and fungi in the bees' gut. Pollen collected from bees
>flying freely around the GM crop was fed to young honey bees in the
>laboratory. The contents of the young bees' intestines were then
>cultured and the micro-organisms analysed -- the GM gene that had
>been inserted into the rapeseed crop was found in these micro-

I don't where the author of this document got the details from this
experiment because this has never been published anywhere as far as I
know. One also should note that the herbicide resistance gene in the GM
rapeseed crop is actually a bacterial gene. It is a gene found in the
bacterium Streptomyces hygroscopicus which, as I under stand it, is a
common soil bacterium. I do not know how common this bacteria is in the
guts of insects. However, a literature search tells me that Streptomyces
species are found in termites and a mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. So
they are found in some insects at least.

As I understand the work of Dr. Kaatz PCR was used to amplify the Bar
gene. In light of the fact that this gene exists quite commonly in natural
populations of bacteria and these bacteria are found in some insects it
would be very important to determine the source of the bar gene in the
bees. Was it from transgenic plants or from natural bacterium? This would
require a careful study with good controls. So we will have to wait and
see what Dr Kaatz publishes before we can make up our minds about this. Dr
Kaatz has not responded to email queries on this matter.

>Because GMOs are created by the insertion of a foreign gene into the
>plants' genome, rather than incorporation such as would take place
>through breeding, it is more likely that this foreign gene will be
>released into the environment due to the DNA repair and self-
>correcting mechanisms of >cells.

This a baseless assertion. It sounds like an idea that M-W. Ho from ISIS
tries to promulgate. Dr Ho makes the claim that "chimeric" DNA molecules
(DNA molecules made by joining two bits of DNA from different sources
together) are inherently unstable. Ho claims instability of chimeric
molecules is the subject of text books. The text book she refers to is in
fact Principles of Genetic Manipulation: RW Old and SB Primrose 5th
edition (1994), chapter 8, page 164 - Structural Instability. I have
actually taken the time to look at this text.

This text book actually refers to data about non-chimeric molecules being
unstable because of repetitive sequences and has zero relevance to Ho's
assertion that chimeric molecules are inherently unstable

What Old and Primrose does say is: "A common feature of these deletions
is the involvement of homologous recombination between short direct

i.e. DNA is unstable if they have repeat regions. Molecules like this are
subject to recombination whether they are naturally occurring (such as in
the "junk DNA" of eukaryotes - witness the variation in the length of
tandem repeats of repetitive DNA used as markers for gene mapping in
eukaryotes) or whether they are chimeric molecules. It is dependant on the
repetition of DNA sequences not on the chimeric nature of the molecule.

Old and Primrose also talk about other situations where plasmid molecules
are subject to deletions. It references Michel and Ehrlich 1986 which
reports deletions in NON-CHIMERIC E.coli chromosomes. It also refers to
instability due to the NATURALLY occurring transposable elements - nothing
to do with chimeric molecules.

Another situation where deletions form is when attempts are made to
express proteins at high levels in E.coli from chimeric plasmids. If the
protein is toxic to the cell then there is high selection pressure to form
mutants of the plasmid which have deletions of the chimeric plasmid. This
occurs only in specific situations depending on the nature of the protein
that is being expressed. It is possible because of the nature of bacterial
cultures there are large numbers of cells to select from and thus rare
mutants can quickly dominate a culture. It is due to the toxic nature of
the gene product not to the "chimeric nature" of the DNA molecule. This
has zero relevance to the situation in transgenic plants. Chimeric
molecules producing non-toxic proteins are completely stable (Witness the
ability of scientists to exchange plasmids with each other. Witness the
ability of different sequencing labs to sequence shared clones and get
100% matches)

MW Ho's ability to back up her claims is limited so far to misquoting
from a text book.

>Myth 6: The promotion of genetic engineering has nothing to do with
>the greed and >self-interest of particular transnational corporations.

The production of Golden (vitamin A) rice proves that this is not a myth.
GM crops can be developed without the influence of the greed and
self-interest of transnational corporations. Transnational corporations
don't have a monopoly on good ideas.

>No matter what the regulation authorities think (or tell the public),
>the transnational >corporations involved in GMOs will find ways to
>circumvent >any restriction placed on them.

So what makes you think you can stop them by protesting?
-- Opinons expressed in this posting are personal and do not reflect the
position of my employer

Subj: Do the opponents of genetically engineered crops have any idea what
they are talking about?

From: "Gordon Couger"

I find the following new story unbelievable that Ms. Shiva can't tell rice
from weeds.

Recived from the Agnet research program


Dec. 8/00 Knight-Ridder Tribune
By Dennis T. Avery of the Hudson Institute

CHURCHVILLE, Va.--According to Avery, India's Vandana Shiva, one of the
world's most prominent opponents of genetically engineered crops, recently
took part in a demonstration against Rice-Tec, a plant-breeding company in
Alvin, Texas. Looking out at Rice-Tec's experimental field, Ms. Shiva
said, "The plants look unhappy. The rice plants at home look very happy."
A Rice-Tec representative replied, "We harvested the rice in August. Those
are weeds."

Activists are fun to watch. They sell lots of newspapers. The problem
comes when you put them in charge of something important, such as the
global food supply, or the world's energy system. Shiva lectures across
Europe and America as an eco-feminist. She claims biotech foods are
dangerous to people (though she doesn't offer any evidence).

She also claims biotech crops would disadvantage Indian farmers who save
their seed from year to year instead of buying commercial seed. For a
world that will need nearly three times as much food in 2050 as it
harvests today, and which is already farming 37 percent of its land area,
that's a problem. The activists are equally negative about energy for our
cars, furnaces and computers. They oppose the burning of fossil fuels, of
course. Never mind that we have hundreds of years worth of probable fossil
fuel reserves. Or that the planet has had no significant warming since
1940. Avery goes on to say that the New York Times editorialized against
the precautionary principle being advanced by Europe. Electricity,
antibiotics and autos would all have been
barred by the precautionary principle's standard of no-harm-to- anybody,

The Times, which has campaigned for years against safety-tested pesticides
and nuclear power, has now seen the danger of activist control and finally
wants us to use science to balance risks and potential benefits. Science
is simply the sum of our knowledge. It is not always accurate, it is
always incomplete and it is always changing. But at any given moment it is
the best understanding of reality achieved by thousands of years of human


From: "Fiona Fourie"
Subject: FIS/ASSINSEL Congress 2001 Announcement


It will be the penultimate congress of FIS and ASSINSEL as two separate

Sun City is a self-contained conference, entertainment and tourist
village, with four modern hotels of international standard and adjacent
extensive game park. All hotels are within 5 to 12 minutes walking
distance from the conference centre and all are serviced with continuos,
free shuttle buses. Pathways between hotels meander between cascading
water features and lush, sub-tropical gardens which received international
awards. Printed brochures will be distributed internationally by the
second week of December - the earliest release in modern times. All
information will also be displayed, and continuously updated, on the
website to facilitate on-line registration.

For details visit http://www.worldseedcongress2001.co.za.

South Africa will not publish a review on its seed industry. Instead,
brief reviews on all facets of seed research, production, trade, testing,
certification, training and regulatory oversight, will be compiled into a
press kit. We look forward to welcoming all seed trade publications to
sunny Sun City.

Consult the website for the program, registration details, accommodation,
ongoing updates and on-line registration -

Event Dynamics
E-mail : tasha@eventdynamics.co.za
Telephone : +27-11-7065010 Fax +27-11-4637195
Mailing address : PO Box 411177, Craighall, 2024, South Africa

In the meantime we wish you, Compliments of the Christmas Season Joyeux
Noël Feliz Navidad Boas Festas Frohe Weinachten


0040 TEL : +27 12 349-1438 FAX : +27 12 349-1462 E-MAIL :


Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Rice of Doom Questions and Answers
From: Red Porphyry

A few days back I asked the members of the list four relatively
simple questions regarding the vitamin A nutritional quality of
golden rice. Since noone was able to publicly provide answers to
them, I ended up checking into them myself. Here again are the
questions I originally asked and what I was able to find (in

1) Is the RDA for vitamin A in adult humans 750 micrograms or not? If
not, what is the true RDA?

[Shiva's claim that the RDA for vitamin A in adult humans is 750
micrograms is basically correct. The numbers I found give a range of
between 700 and 1,000 micrograms]

2) What is the RDA for vitamin A in human babies and small children
(say, under the age of five)?

[Shiva provided no number for this. The RDA for babies and small
children is actually 375 micrograms.]

3) Is the ultimate goal of Potrykus and co-workers to produce a
strain of golden rice that produces at most 9.9 micrograms of
provitamin A / 30 gm of rice (dry weight) or not? If not, what is the
realistic maximum level of provitamin A /30 gm of rice (dry weight)
that Potrykus and co-workers hope to achieve?

[The answer to this appears to be yes. At some point in the future,
golden rice ("golden-tinted rice" is actually the more accurate
descriptor) is expected to ultimately provide a maximum of 9.9
micrograms of provitamin A /30 gm of rice (dry weight), which is an
average adult serving. So, for adults, one serving of golden-tinted
rice will provide a maximum of about 1.3% of the RDA of vitamin A.
For babies and small children, one "adult-sized" serving of
golden-tinted rice will provide a maximum of about 2.6% of the RDA of
vitamin A. Assuming the only rice Asians eat from now on is
golden-tinted rice, adult Asians can expect to obtain at best 4% of
the RDA of vitamin A from golden-tinted rice, while Asian babies and
small children can expect to obtain at best 8% of the RDA of vitamin
A from golden-tinted rice.]

4) Given whatever the answers are to 1), 2) and 3), does golden rice
provide a viable solution to the problem of vitamin A deficiency for
humans in Asia or not? If not, are there any viable alternatives?

[The answer, unfortunately, is basically no. Golden-tinted rice is
not, nor is it likely to ever be, a viable solution to the problem of
vitamin A deficiency for humans in Asia. At best, it's a curiosity
best suited (due to its color, in my opinion) for special Buddhist
religious festivals. At worst, it will only lead to false hope for
Asians. The *viable* alternative is a combination of (1) expanded use
of vitamin A supplements (preferably produced by local pharmaceutical
companies), (2) local legislation mandating the fortification of
white rice with vitamin A, and (3) adopting Shiva's suggestion that
the growth and consumption of fruits and vegetables that are *truly*
high in provitamin A content be encouraged (and, if necessary,
government-subsidized) wherever possible. For example, Asian mothers
should be taught to mix cooked pureed carrots into every portion of
rice gruel that they serve their babies.

At the very least, pro-biotech scientists should discourage and
denounce vigorously any such statements appearing in the popular
press such as the following:

"By splicing a gene containing beta-carotene (commonly found in
carrots) into normal rice, researchers have produced a strain capable
of preventing the vitamin A deficiency that each year blinds millions
of Third World children."
(AgBioView Archive Message #921: Genetically Altered Foods are the
Key to Feeding Increasingly Hungry World).

Demonstrably false and reckless statements such as the one quoted
above will, in the long run, do nothing but irreparable harm to the
pro-biotech cause.]



Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Regarding Paranoia
From: Craig Sams

The responses to my 'Plea to Set Aside Paranoia' lead me to make one point
which I hope helps add to the discussion. The developed world is actually
quite rich and being 'self-obsessed, wealthy and well-nourished' are facts
of life, however regrettable they may seem to scientists who worry about
the thin line dividing us from starvation. The consumption of meat is the
strongest indicator of this.

An unnecessary food, as lifelong vegetarians have shown, it is still
desired by western consumers. This choice to eat meat, from a scientific
and nutritionalpoint of view, also owes more to "medieval mysticism than
modern science or common sense", but it is nonetheless a belief system
that merits and receives huge respect from the food industry. If we all
eschewed meat there would be no discussion about land use and availability
and there would be huge surpluses for the several billion hungry human
beings ''worrying about where their next meal is coming from." The
Vegetarian Society has long put forward this argument to deaf ears, why
should the GM industry fare any better? Anyone who has been to a
supermarket recently must realise that utilitarian arguments have little
if any relevance to the average Western consumer. Likewise, anyone who
owns shares in a food corporation would be deeply dismayed if the
directors decided to place a responsibility to the world's starving above
the responsibility to maximise shareholder value.

Certification for non-GM non-organic producers is available from the
much-maligned Genetic ID, but they do not provide the 'cradle to grave'
auditing and inspection that organic food in Europe requires (and which
will prevent Gordon Couger's putative supermarket manager from cheating).
The organic market has not been based on trust for a decade, it has been
based on the law. It was the introduction of legal controls in 1992 that
brought in investment from big retailers and manufacturers. These controls
do not yet exist in the USA.

In general, why pick on food choices as the only area where human foibles
should be ignored in favour of good science? The history of medicine,
fashion, politics, economics, and law all reflect changes in human
priorities and the 'different strokes for different folks' situation.
Eating is a pleasure first and a necessity second for most people, who
also wear hats, drive cars, live in suburban homes, smoke cigarettes, take
vacations in faraway places and eat chocolate. None of these activities
can be justified on a scientific basis, but life would be much poorer
without them The organic boom has been accompanied by a renewed interest
in cooking, locally sourced food and an increased awareness of the farm to
dinner plate connections. Is that so terrible?

Craig Sams

AgBioView wrote:
> Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: 'Plea to Set Aside Paranoia'
> From: "Graeme O'Neill" (Graeme O'Neill,
> Science writer, Sunday Herald-Sun, Melbourne, Australia)
> The irony of Craig Sams' 'Plea to Set Aside Paranoia' is that it
> exemplifies how paranoia is created, by implying that "genetic
> contamination" poses some real threat to consumers, as distinct from