GE NEWS ARCHIVE
Mothers for Natural Law
International News on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture
Biweekly News 99/05/01
Thanks to Cliff Kinzel and Richard Wolfson for these items.
Articles have been aggressively shortened.
Unilever UK's GM Free Announcement Sends Clear Message to World's Farmers
27 April 1999
London -- Unilever UK, part of the world's largest food manufacturing company with a turnover of over US$56 billion, today announced it is going GM free. This sends a clear message to US farmers from Europe not to grow GM crops.
On the Fate of Orally Ingested Foreign DNA in Mice: chromosomal association and placental transmission to the fetus.
Schubbert R, Hohlweg U, Renz D, Doerfler W
Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, Koeln, Germany.
...Using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or the fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) method, foreign DNA, orally ingested by pregnant mice, can be discovered in various organs of fetuses and of newborn animals...
Mol. Gen. Genet. 1998 Oct;259(6):569-76
Scientists Warn of GM Crops Link to Meningitis
Daily Mail (UK)
THE nightmare possibility of GM food experiments producing untreatable killer diseases has been underscored by senior Government scientists.
They fear new strains of meningitis and other infections could be created by crops which may already be in the food chain.
Experts on the Government's Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes have issued a warning about plants being grown in the U.S. and parts of Europe which contain a gene resistant to antibiotics.
They are concerned that, if workers breathe in dust as the crops are processed, the resistance could be transferred to bacteria in their throats.
Around one in five people are carriers of the meningitis bacteria, even though they are not affected by the disease. Microbiologist Dr John Heritage, a member of the committee, has written to American authorities to express his worries. 'It's a huge concern to me,' he said. 'While the risk is small, the consequences of an untreatable, life-threatening infection spreading within the population are enormous.' ...
The concerns about new strains of diseases centre on maize containing an antibiotic-resistant gene called BLA, which can affect meningitis bacteria, and cotton containing a gene called AAD, which can affect the sexually-transmitted disease gonorrhea.
The BLA gene could make meningitis immune to penicillin - one of the normal treatments - and possibly mutate further, making the killer disease resistant to other cures.
The genes are added to the plants as a 'marker' to help biotech scientists monitor how well they take up the modified genes they are given.
Breathing in dust from the crops is not the only potential transfer mechanism. There are also fears that antibiotic resistance could 'jump' to bacteria in the gut of an animal or person who ate the food.
Experts believed until recently that the genes break down too quickly for this to happen. But a study by a Dutch team, reported in New Scientist magazine earlier this year, suggested that DNA from food lingers in the large intestine for several minutes. Strands of genetic code could have time to transfer from food to bacteria, potentially passing on key characteristics.
In a report on Monsanto's U.S. cotton crop, being used primarily for animal feed, the Government advisory committee says: 'The clinical consequences of such an evolutionary step would be grave.'
Rogue Genes Cross to Weeds
Independent on Sunday (UK)
18th April 1999
Scientists have discovered the first genetically modified superweeds in Britain, following the spread of pollen from a GM trial crop to wild turnip plants.
The Guardian 21/4/99 Today's UK News
Full Hearing on GM Hazards
By Paul Brown, Environment Correspondent Wednesday April 21, 1999
Monsanto, the giant US biotech company, failed in the High Court yesterday to silence campaigners who pulled up the company's genetically modified plants, and now faces a high-profile trial in which the defendants will claim they were acting lawfully to protect society against the dangers posed by GM crops.
The company had asked for a permanent and sweeping injunction banning six named defendants and anyone associated with their organisation, GenetiX Snowball, from interfering with any of their crops again. This would have effectively prevented them explaining in court why they dug up the crops.
Mr Justice Klavan continued the existing temporary injunction but said the issue had to go to full trial because the defendants had an arguable case that they were acting in the public interest.
No Biotech-Corn in Switzerland - Release forbidden
Bern, 16. April, dpa (i.e. Deutsche Presse Agentur).
Genetically engineered plants are forbidden to be released in Switzerland. A corresponding decision was passed Friday by the Federal Office for Environment in Bern. Two release requests for corn and potatoes were declined.
Monsanto Will Wait for Studies of Disputed New Gene Technology
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Monsanto's "terminator technology" may not be terminated, but neither will it be germinated soon because of the global furor it has caused.
St. Louis-based [Monsanto Co.] announced Thursday that it would not market the controversial new gene technology until the completion of studies that examine the environmental, economic and social effects.
"We believe that the concerns about gene protection technologies should be heard and carefully considered before any decisions are made to commercialize them," the company said in a statement.
So-called terminator technology is one of the seed-sterilization methods being developed to prevent genetically modified seeds from being used for free. If crops produce sterile seeds, farmers must buy new seeds at the next planting.
For Monsanto, Thursday's announcement amounts to a retreat from its spirited defense of the technology. Philip Angell, Monsanto's director of communications, said the company had taken its new position "because the reaction to terminator in a lot of different quarters in many countries was clearly becoming the dominant discussion about biotechnology."
Rhone-Poulenc Wins Suit Against DeKalb Over RoundupReady(R) Corn
April 23, 1999
GREENSBORO, N.C., April 22 /PRNewswire/ via NewsEdge Corporation -- Rhone-Poulenc Agro announced today that a jury in Greensboro, NC, found that Monsanto Company's subsidiary, DeKalb Genetics Corp., had fraudulently induced Rhone-Poulenc to license its glyphosate-tolerance gene used in Roundup Ready(R) corn. The jury also determined that DeKalb had breached agreements with Rhone-Poulenc to disclose test results of the glyphosate tolerance gene which led to the 1994 license agreement between the two companies. The jury awarded Rhone-Poulenc damages of $15 million and punitive damages of $50 million. Consequently, the 1994 Agreement is canceled with neither DeKalb nor Monsanto having rights to Rhone-Poulenc Agro's gene. As all Roundup Ready(R) corn incorporates the Rhone-Poulenc gene, DeKalb and Monsanto have no right to sell Roundup Ready(R) corn.
[Copyright 1999, PR Newswire]
April 21, 1999
Genetically Engineered Rice Set to Burn by CTNBio Order
For the first time since it was created in Jan 1995, the National Biosecurity Technical Committee (CTNBio) in Brazil has ruled in favour of the destruction of genetically modified plants. CTNBio ordered that crops containing herbicide-resistant transgenic rice experiments grown by Irga and AgrEvo be burned. The experiment, located at Irga headquarters, Cachoeirinha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil covers a total of 1225 sqm and will drained, collected and burnt for not having attended the compulsory biosecurity measures.
Copyright(C) 1999 Chemical Business NewsBase: Gazeta Mercantil
Copyright 1999 Wellington Newspapers Limited The Evening Post (Wellington)
April 23, 1999
Beeman issues trade warning
US ambassador Josiah Beeman yesterday warned that New Zealand might face US trade sanctions if it introduced mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods. With a government decision awaited on labelling of GM foods, Mr Beeman said on TV One's Assignment programme that if New Zealand refused to accept American crops "obviously there's going to be difficulties in our trading relationships". A spokesman for Trade Minister Lockwood Smith said the New Zealand Government was well aware of the US view. - NZPA
Supplied by New Zealand Press Association
China Seen Swiftly Adopting Transgenic Cotton
03:47 a.m. Apr 27, 1999 Eastern
By Julie Vorman
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China planted more than one million hectares of genetically modified cotton during the past year to improve crop yields, and is likely to boost that amount in the next planting season, Monsanto Co. officials said Monday. China's adoption of Monsanto's Bt cotton for about one-fourth of its crop is evidence that the use of genetically modified plants will continue to grow despite European opposition, they said. Monsanto's cotton is engineered to contain the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which produces a toxin that kills bollworms, a major cause of crop losses.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
Genetically Modified Food, Crops, Being Debated
01:47 p.m Apr 25, 1999 Eastern
CHICAGO (Reuters) - ...
Examples of how GM is now in place in the US food system:
Dairy -- Bovine somatotropin (BST), also known as bovine growth hormone (BGH), is a protein produced by cattle. The gene for BST has been cloned into bacterial cells, a recombinant or genetically engineered version (rBGH) used to boost milk output in dairy herds. About 30 percent of herds are affected. A less well-known use of biotech in dairy is the enzyme chymosin, a GM-derived rennet substitute now used in more than 50 percent of cheese production in the United States.
Grains -- Almost 35 percent, or 27 million acres, of the No. 1 field crop in the United States, corn, will be planted to GM strains in 1999, according to industry groups. These include Bt corn altered with genes from a soil-based bacterium, bacillus thuringiensis, that fights the European corn borer pest. It also includes ``Roundup Ready'' corn that withstands Monsanto's Roundup, a popular herbicide worldwide.
New varieties with stacked traits -- such as BT plus high corn oil yield -- are also being marketed.
Oilseeds -- Growers say plantings of Roundup Ready soybeans and other GM varieties will account for up to 40 million acres in the United States this year, more than half 1999 acreage in the fourth year of use. Roundup Ready canola, a rapeseed developed in Canada, is also marketed in the United States and Canada.
Cotton -- Bt, Roundup Ready and other GM cotton varieties are expected to account for more than half of the 14 million acres planted in the United States this year.
Sugar -- Roundup Ready sugarbeets make U.S. debut in 1999.
Potatoes -- Monsanto's New Leaf potatoes combat the Colorado potato beetle through a protein specific to the beetle added to the crop. Virus resistant traits are also added. Plantings in 1998 accounted for 60,000 acres out of 1.37 million acres of potatoes planted in the United States.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
...It is predicted that nearly all of the soya grown in America - 60 million acres - will be genetically-modified within the next year...
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is compiled for educational use only.
To subscribe, send a blank email to email@example.com
Mothers for Natural Law
< Previous | Next >