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January 11, 2001


Dr Pusztai - please read your own paper


At 12:36 PM 8/1/01 +0000,:

Dr Pusztai wrote:
> In this light, even though in the GM pea study there
>was no histology, the significant weight and compositional differences
>in the caecum (large intestine) and the increased weight (not
>significant) of the small intestine should have at least cautioned
>anyone against claiming no detrimental effects.

It would appear that Dr Pusztai has forgotten the data in his own paper.
Excerpt from Table 3 (in J,Nutr 129, pp1597-1603)

Parent Pea Transgenic Pea
small intestine 2553 2602

Cecum 470 485

Testes 516 496

None of these differences are reported as significant. So where is this
significant weight difference in the caecum?

>In the Morton "Responses" there was a return to our GM pea paper. It
>was quite revealing that, apparently, it was envisaged that there could
>be no possible detrimental effects of these peas on the rats. Thus,
>there was a plea that the paper's title should have said that the GM
>peas had "NO DETRIMENTAL EFFECT" rather than minimal detrimental effect.

No I said that perhaps the paper should have had the title "NO DETECTABLE
detrimental effect". I know this is what I said because I cut this out of
the message in my out box:

Roger Morton Wrote:
>Why doesn't the paper have a title saying "Expression of insecticidal bean
a-amylase inhibitor transgene
>has *no detectable* detrimental effect on the nutritional value of peas in
the rat at 65% of the diet"?

Dr Pusztai wrote:
>First of all, I should point out that the title [of the J.Nut paper] was
coined by T.J.
>Higgins and seconded by Maarten Chrispeels, neither of whom are known to
>be rabid anti-GM scientists.

I am not so sure that I believe you when you tell me Dr Higgins came up
with this title. I happen to have an early draft of the paper which I
obtained from Dr Higgins which has the title "Transgenic pea containing
insecticidal bean a-amylase inhibitor gene and its parent line have similar
nutritional value and equally promote rat growth at 30% dietary inclusion".
This would suggest that the title changed somewhat during the production
of this paper. It seems strange that Dr Higgins, who developed these peas,
would change the title to the one with negative implications when the data
does not show any negative implications. Perhaps Dr Higgins will be able
to comment on this issue.

>although Dr Morton may think that the differences found could not be
>regarded as potentially detrimental, some more cautious scientists might
>regard the changes as potentially harmful.

12% higher fecal N excretion and 4% lower body water content is potentially
harmful ??? - go on make a case for this then. Make a case as to how
these differences a potentially harmful. Do now, what you should have done
earlier, in the paper.

> who would have done a "proper safety
>assessment including animal feeding studies" (on these GM potatoes) in
>the UK. After all, ACNFP, our regulatory authority, have no labs of
>their own and only ask for the companies to submit the results of their
>own testing.

Who would have tested it? The organization that the commercial company
developing the potatoes for market choose to conduct the tests. You do
have regulations in Europe for GM foods I believe. These regulations would
require the submission of test data would they not?

>Incidentally, even this level of regulation is more
>rigorous than that in the USA where there is self-regulation and the FDA
>would not have required any such documentation, just a notification of
>the impending release of a new GM food crop.

I don't think this is true : - any one care to comment? Don't they have to
submit a mountain of test results to the FDA and the EPA?

> In the "Response" document, in addition to an interpretation of the word
>"commercialization", there were again references to our potato study. As
>I previously dealt with this point, I have nothing further to add

You can't even come up with a hypothesis to explain your findings that:
that the transformation event or the construct produces one compound that
is heat stable and that makes the jejunum proliferate but has no effect on
the caecum. And at the same time the transformation event or the construct
produces another compound that is heat activated that has an
anti-proliferation effect on the caecum but no effect on the jejunum.

Go on - I dare you to give me a nearly plausible hypothesis to explain
these results.

Roger Morton

Roger L Morton
Opinons expressed in this posting are personal and do not reflect the
position of my employer