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January 8, 2001


Indian site, RR Soy, Prince & Organics, Patents, Risk


Here I am happy to bring this to your notice, I am constructing a website
on "Agricultural Biotechnology." I am, Adeline Anita Mohan, from India. I
am glad it will be great useful to the scientist, students, eminent
scholars and commercial companies in biotechnology in India.

It aims to provide the needed and necessary information, links to related
libraries companies and websites. It will act as a link site and
information provider among them.

What You May Contribute with me:

You are requested to provide the details of your services(free & paid),
features, published area/field of your interest, your articles, documents
and subscription etc. Even if you are not having website you may
contribute us by giving your suggessions, information of the websites/URLs
you have known, your knowledge on Agricultural Biotechnology and other

Important: Your most welcome to provide your URL links. I hope and wish
your contributionis much more and uniwue to us to construct this site.

Keepiing you in our minds.
Awaiting for your brainly chips


Date:9 Jan 2001 14:48:36 -0000
From:"Carpenter, Janet"
Subject:Roundup Ready Soybean Yields

Roundup Ready Soybean Yield Gap Closing

Roundup Ready soybean yields are catching up to conventional varieties,
according to a recent study by the National Center for Food and
Agricultural Policy (NCFAP). University variety trial results for 1999
showed an average 3% difference in yields for Roundup Ready varieties
relative to conventional soybean varieties, compared to a 4% difference in

Roundup Ready soybeans were genetically modified to withstand treatment
with the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) by inserting a gene from a soil
bacterium, which allows for the continued production of essential amino
acids that would otherwise cease after the herbicide treatment. Roundup is
an effective, broad spectrum herbicide that would normally destroy a
growing crop. The insertion of the soil bacterium gene allows growers to
use Roundup over their crop, controlling weeds while leaving the crop
unharmed.Roundup Ready soybeans have proved extremely popular with U.S.
farmers sincetheir introduction in 1996. In just 5 years, adoption
reached 54% of total soybean acreage.

The analysis of 1999 variety trials is based on trials conducted in
8 states and is similar to an earlier analysis of the 1998 trials.
Nearly 9400 entries were included, 4443 conventional and 4955 Roundup
Ready. In five of the eight states included in the analysis, the disparity
in yields between Roundup Ready and conventional varieties was smaller in
the 1999 trials than in 1998, indicating the availability of the Roundup
Ready trait in higher yielding varieties.

Yield Performance of Roundup Ready Relative to Conventional Soybean

State 1998 1999
Illinois 103% 102%
Iowa 93% 95%
Michigan 97% 101%
Minnesota 92% 91%
Nebraska 88% 97%
Ohio 97% 89%
South Dakota 90% 94%
Wisconsin 97% 100%
Average 96% 97%

Critics of agricultural biotechnology distorted the results of the 1998
variety trials, asserting that the difference in yields was due to an
inherent problem with the Roundup Ready varieties resulting from the
process of genetic modification. However, the differences are more likely
due to differences in the agronomic background of the varieties in which
the Roundup Ready trait is available. The Roundup Ready trait was
introduced into a single soybean variety that is appropriate to growing
conditions in a limited area. In order to introduce the trait into other
varieties, several years of "backcrossing" using conventional breeding is
necessary to recapture the agronomic characteristics of the recipient
variety. Therefore, it was expected that it would take several years for
seed companies to make the Roundup Ready trait available in the
highest-yielding elite varieties.

As the Roundup Ready trait is introduced into the highest yielding
varieties, it is expected that the difference in yields between Roundup
Ready and conventional soybean varieties will disappear, or even be
overcome. However, one must be cautious in interpreting the results of
variety trials as many other factors besides yield potential, such as
costs and weed control efficacy, affect growers' planting decisions and,
ultimately, yields.

Comparing Roundup Ready and Conventional Soybean Yields 1999, by Janet E.
Carpenter, is available at www.ncfap.org. Preparation of this report was
supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.


Prince's organic food profits triple
The Sunday Times
January 7 2001

ORGANIC FARMING is bringing home the bacon for the Prince of Wales. Duchy
Originals, his organic-food company, increased its profits almost
threefold last year as sales of organic food soared.

The green-minded royal now owns the country's leading independent
organic-food brand. Belinda Gooding, managing director, said the rise
stemmed from the growing interest in organic food and the success of the
Duchy's pork products.

Duchy Originals' profits rose to £502,806 last year from £177,841 the
previous year, according to accounts filed last month. About £400,000 of
the profit was paid to the Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation.

The company, now chaired by Guy McCracken, a former Marks & Spencer
director, was launched 11 years ago, selling biscuits made with organic
wheat from the prince's Highgrove estate.

Gooding said Prince Charles had given the brand integrity at a time when
cynicism about organic food was growing. "People know he is passionate
about organic farming and the integrity of his products comes first," she

Last year's most successful products were Duchy bacon and sausages and
Lemon Refresher, a soft drink aimed at adults. Nielsen, the ratings
agency, says Refresher is the fastest growing in its market.

Gooding said the company would be launching a range of chocolate biscuits
and bread products this year. She said Prince Charles often contributed
ideas for new products and had helped develop the pork range.

The value of the organic-food market grew 40% last year after a 40% rise
the year before, according to Mintel. About 70% of baby food sold is now
organic. Waitrose was the first grocer to stock Duchy Originals. The
prince's goods are now sold by most big chains.
Steven Easom, buying director at Waitrose, said: "Organic food has become
part of the weekly shopping basket. When people think about food now they
are also thinking about where it came from and how it was made."


Organic foods offer peace of mind – at a price

January 15, 2001
By Mary Brophy Marcus

A young mother, Margo Mukkulainen, stands in her neighborhood grocery
store, infant slung on one hip, pondering a choice of potatoes. Organic or
not organic? Both look fresh, plump, and earthy, but the organic spuds
cost nearly twice as much. "I believe there's a health difference, but how
much?" asks Mukkulainen, 32, who lives in Fogelsville, Pa. "The whole
organic thing is really confusing."

Some of the confusion was dispelled last month, when Agriculture Secretary
Dan Glickman released the first set of national organic standards, which
will replace a patchwork of state and private certifications covering
foods produced without synthetic chemicals. By August 2002, all produce,
dairy, meat, and prepared foods stamped "organic" not only must be
produced without synthetic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides but must
meet other requirements as well. Genetic engineering, the use of sewage
sludge as fertilizer, and irradiating food to preserve it will be banned
for organic produce, as will hormones and antibiotics in organic meat and
dairy products.

Shunning these technologies makes organic farming more labor intensive,
pushing up the price of organic produce. And that raises the second
question, which clearer labeling won't settle: Are organic groceries worth
the extra cost?

If you're looking for immediate health benefits, save your money. Organic
foods are no more wholesome or nutritious, says Glickman. The organic
label "is not a seal of safety. It's a marketing tool." What the higher
grocery tab may buy you, however, is peace of mind. Although hard evidence
is scarce, some scientists think that pesticide residues in conventional
food could, over many years, raise the risk of cancer and other ills,
especially in children. The hormones given to animals to beef up meat and
milk production also worry some scientists and advocates, who suspect
these substances may move up the food chain to humans and cause
developmental problems. All-organic shopping may seem too pricey a
precaution. But you can target your spending toward those fruits and
vegetables that can carry the largest doses of chemicals.

The meaning of organic.

Organic food sales still make up less than $8 billion of the $460 billion
grocery market, but sales have been increasing by about 20 percent a year
over the past decade. About one third of Americans buy some organic
products, according to a large survey by the Hartman Group in Bellevue,
Wash. Yet many buyers don't know exactly what "organic" means, the Hartman
Group has found. "Is it not pasteurized?" asks one woman browsing the
dairy aisle at a Fresh Fields in Wayne, Pa. (Actually, milk, organic or
not, must generally be pasteurized to kill bad bacteria.)

Down on the farm, the differences are unmistakable. Many conventional
dairy farms have thousands of cattle, typically kept in close quarters and
often given hormones to boost their milk output and antibiotics to keep
them healthy. An organic dairy farm is likely to be smaller; the animals
graze outdoors and feed on organically grown hay, and get close attention
when they are sick. While most apple growers spray the trees with
synthetic chemical pesticides, organic growers choose bug- and
fungus-resistant varieties and thwart pests with glue-coated traps and
other natural countermeasures. Organic vegetable growers fertilize their
crops with composted manure rather than synthetic chemicals and control
weeds without the use of herbicide.

These practices are part of the allure of the organic movement, because
they may be kinder to family farms, the environment, and animals than
other farming. "People want to picture their food coming from small family
farms where the cows are outside eating grass," says Travis Forgues, an
organic dairy farmer in Alburg, Vt. The potential health benefits,
however, are what get most consumers to open their wallets. "I honestly
believe that naturally grown foods are healthier and will help one live
longer," says Internet consultant Mark Modzelewski of Woodstock, N.Y.

Yet organic foods are no richer than other varieties in vitamins,
antioxidants, and other nutrients–nor are they any less likely to make you
sick with food poisoning. The sewage sludge dumped on some conventional
crops may sound distasteful, but it's treated to kill bacteria before use.
Nor do most scientists see health advantages in two other features of
"organic," as defined by the Agriculture Department: the ban on genetic
engineering and food irradiation. Much of the nation's corn and soybeans
and a growing number of other crops include foreign genes that allow the
crops to be grown with less chemical pesticide, for example. But although
some tests have raised the possibility that the altered foods might
trigger allergic reactions, no cases have been substantiated so far. And
there's little support for claims that irradiation creates toxins in food,
although a few advocacy groups say more research is needed.

For consumers worried about diet and health, the big difference is that
organic foods are virtually free of the synthetic chemicals found in
regular produce. The fruits and vegetables in a typical produce aisle may
contain anywhere from one to a half-dozen pesticide residues. The types
and amounts depend on the history of that particular fruit or
vegetable–what it was sprayed with and how many times, whether pesticide
drifted onto it from nearby farms, whether it was shipped in a truck
tainted with residues.

Tracing risk.

In large doses, many of these chemicals can cause cancer, nervous system
damage, and other ills. The risks, if any, of the traces found in your
salad and fruit bowls are not known. Weighing the threat is especially
tough when it comes to children, whose developing bodies may be more
vulnerable and who eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables. "I wouldn't
say the food out there is unsafe," says Adam Goldberg, a policy analyst
for Consumers Union, in Washington, D.C., "[but] some pesticide exposures
create risk, in particular in children."

The EPA is responding to such concerns. In 1999, for example, the agency
banned the use of the pesticide methyl parathion on most fruits, including
grapes, and many vegetables. Animal studies showed that moderate doses of
the compound could cause cancer, and a computer model suggested that even
the much smaller doses remaining on produce might pose some risk of cancer
and neurological damage in children. The agency also mandated cutbacks in
the use of another pesticide, azinphos-methyl, frequently applied to
orchards. But many other pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides remain in
wide use.

Keep any risk in perspective, Goldberg urges. "Children should eat a
healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables"–whether organic or not. But he
and others urge that you wash and peel everything you can. And because
different fruits and vegetables bear different kinds of residues, vary
what you serve–don't put strawberries on the table day after day.

Conventionally produced meat and milk have raised other concerns. A few
experts have speculated that the growth hormones used in beef cattle and
dairy cows, chickens, goats, and other animals might be behind a worrisome
trend: the increasingly early onset of puberty, especially in girls, who
according to one recent study often show signs of breast development or
pubic hair by age 8. But Ruth Kava, director of nutrition for the American
Council on Science and Health, says it's an unlikely theory, and that lack
of exercise and obesity are much likelier causes.

Clear threat.

The heavy doses of antibiotics given to farm animals are a clearer threat
to public health–not because they reduce the safety of meat or milk but
because they spawn antibiotic-resistant bacteria that may spread from
animals to people. Last April, a study published in the New England
Journal of Medicine linked antibiotic-resistant microbes in livestock to a
case of salmonella in a young farm boy, whose infection resisted 13
powerful drugs.

Consumers who want to eat organic food but have limited grocery budgets
can decide which organic produce to buy based on "dirty dozen" lists.
Published by watchdog groups, these lists pinpoint the produce likely to
contain the most residual chemicals. Though their lists differed somewhat,
Consumers Union (www.consumersunion.org/food/food.htm; click on "Worst
First") and the Environmental Working Group (www.foodnews.org) both
fingered apples, peaches, and spinach among the foods containing the
highest levels of pesticide residues.

Or if the health and environmental claims of organic farming don't impress
you, let your taste be your guide. For some, the image of a happy chicken
foraging in a grassy farmyard simply makes the eggs tastier. "The food
tastes better," says Modzelewski.

The taste question, at least, is one you can settle yourself. Yet organics
may not always win. In an informal blind taste test at U.S. News recently,
winter tomatoes were equally tasteless, whether conventional or organic.
But the regular carrots we sampled beat the organic kind hands down. Our
tasters preferred organic orange juice, yet opted for the conventional
blueberry yogurt. But just about everyone agreed that the organic milk
tasted great. Maybe it was the happier cows.

An apple a day either way

Conventional or organic, an apple contains roughly 80 calories, a dollop
of fruit sugar and fiber, and antioxidants that may stave off cancer and
other illnesses. But the organic variety can cost twice as much, and its
life in the orchard is very different.

-Coat branches with soybean oil to kill insect eggs on the bark.
-Trap apple maggots on fake apple lookalikes coated with glue.
-Release moth sex pheromones, which interfere with mating.
-Rely on insect predators to eat mites.

-Coat branches with petroleum or soybean oil to kill insect eggs.
-Spray three or more synthetic pesticides to kill apple maggots, codling
moths, spider mites, and other pests.
-Release moth sex pheromones to further reduce pest numbers.

Date: Jan 08 2001 16:41:08 EST
From: "Kershen, Drew L"
Subject: Patent Query by N. Achmad

Dear N. Achmad:

You have asked very complex and difficult questions. Let me respond
briefly with several points.

In the United States, living organisms are within the subject matter that
may be patented IF human ingenuity creates a new living organism. In the
United States, the patentability of living organisms has been clear since
1980. What is being protected is human ingenuity that created something
new. The United States uses the patent system (and intellectual property
rights in general) to provide incentives for inventiveness on the economic
theory (well validated, in my opinion) that these incentives will promote
the social and economic well-being of American society.

In Canada, the Candadian patent authorities have very recently approved
the patenting of living organisms under the same general conditions as
exist in the United States. The European Union patent authority also with
the last year approved living organisms as patentable subject matter.
However, European groups opposed to the patenting of living organisms are
attempting to have the European Parliament and other EU institutions
reverse the EU patent authority decision that allowed the patenting of
living organisms.
In my opinion, there are several valid concerns about patents in living

First, the patent authorities must be careful to distinguish between a
discovery of what exists in nature and the inventiveness of human
ingenuity as applied to living organisms. Society does not need to
provide legal and economic monopolies as incentives for discovery.
Society does need to provide legal and economic monopolies for limited
periods of time as incentives for the research and development costs of
inventions relating to living organisms.
Second, the patent authorities must be careful to distinguish between a
patent that claims ownership of human beings and patents that claim
ownership of inventions of non-human living organisms. Ownership of human
beings is slavery and should be prohibited both morally and legally.
However, remember that a particular gene is not, in essence or in
identity, "human" or "tiger" or "crocodile" or "bacteria" or "yeast" or
"sunflower" gene. Genes are genes; genes produce proteins.

Also in my opinion, there are several weak concerns about patents in
living organisms.

First, patents have been granted in living organisms for a long time.
Inventions relating to bacteria and yeasts, for example, have existed for
more than a century. Louis Pasteur gained the first such patent in the
United States about the year 1873. Plant patents in asexually-reproduced
plants have existed in the U.S. since 1930. Plant patent certificates in
sexually-reproduced plants have been common since about 1960 when Europe
introduced the plant variety protection international treaty. (UPOV are
the French-language initials). The empirical claim that intellectual
property rights in living organisms are brand-new is false, although the
pace of invention relating to living organisms deserving of intellectual
property protection has greatly increased in the past twenty years. This
increased pace reflects the significant advances in the biological
sciences in the past 50 years.

Second, patents work in plants, animals, bacteria, yeasts, viruses just as
patents work with respect to mechanical, electrical, chemical, physical
inventions. There is nothing "mystically" different about patents in
living organisms (aside from the earlier caveat about human beings.)
Claims that living organisms (again excluding human beings) are by nature
different with respect to the patent system should be recognized as
beliefs that deserve respect but that, as beliefs, do not trump all other
views and public policies.

I hope that I have provided worthwhile comments to you on your thoughtful
and difficult questions.

Best regards,

Drew Drew L. Kershen
Earl Sneed Centennial
Professor of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law
300 Timberdell Rd.
Norman, OK 73019-5081 U.S.A.
Ph.: 01-405-325-4784
FAX: 01-405-325-0389

Date: Jan 07 2001 23:12:09 EST
From: "nurhanudin achmad"
Subject: Patent

Dear sir,I have some question, what is the patent backgroud ? and why more
people is not receive patent in living ? so what different about living
and not living ? what about bacteri, it living or not living ?
sorry, my english language is bad.
thank you for your answer.

Date: Jan 08 2001 14:48:31 EST
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: RAFI Stubs its Toe


Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) has stubbed its toe once
again. At the urging of this activist group, the International Center for
Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) filed a formal request for re-examination of
US patent no. 5,894,079, also known as the "Enola bean patent." RAFI
likes to rant about how important is it that we respect the rights of
those who breed plants. Look up the patent--it covers the result of a
plant breeder's efforts. And only temporarily, at that. Apparently, RAFI
believes that only SOME plant breeder's efforts should be respected. One
has to wonder what criteria RAFI uses to determine what breeding efforts
are worthy of respect and which are not. Apparently, not all plant
breeders are created equal--or, in the words of George Orwell in "Animal
Farm:" "Some pigs are more equal than others."

Date: 8 Jan 2001 20:54:08 -0000
From: Mary Ellen Jones
Subject: risk commentary

For those who are interested, I published an OpEd piece in the Roanoke
Times in answer to an editorial calling for massive investment in
ecological risk assessment for GM crops. In a nutshell, spending more on
risk assessment without understanding what underlies opposition to GM
misses the target.

Private comments appreciated.

My full 700 word article is at:

The original editiorial to which I responded can be found at:

Mary Ellen Jones, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0330
office: 540-231-8073