Date: 13 Mar 2000 10:11:39 U
From: "j.e. cummins" email@example.com
The Monsanto product below is spectacularly dangerous because the virus genes in the potato are able to recombine with wild virus to produce more virulent virus. The form of Bt was recently found to be immunologically active in mammals.
Canada's Health Department have a long history of unhealthy relationship with Monsanto. the bureacratic gang from Health Canada greatly influences the Canadian Bureacratic Gang charged by Codex with drawing up international food labelling regulations for GM crops.
Novel Food Information - Food Biotechnology
Colorado Potato Beetle And Potato Virus Y Resistant Potato Lines
SEMT15-02, SEMT15-15, RBMT15-101
Health Canada has notified Monsanto Canada Inc. that it has no objection to the food use of the transgenic NewLeaf-Y potato cultivars Shepody (SEMT15-02, SEMT15-15) and Russet Burbank (RBMT15-101), which have been developed to be resistant to the Colorado potato beetle (CPB) and to resist infection by the plant potyvirus, potato virus Y (PVY). The Department conducted a comprehensive assessment of the Shepody and Russet Burbank NewLeaf-Y potato cultivars according to its Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods (September 1994). These guidelines are based upon internationally accepted principles for establishing the safety of foods derived from genetically modified organisms.
Following binding, cation-specific pores are formed that disrupt midgut ion flow and thereby cause paralysis and death. CryIIIA and related endotoxins are insecticidal only to lepidopteran or coleopteran insects and their specificity of action is directly attributable to the presence of specific receptors in the target insects. There are no receptors for delta-endotoxins of B. thuringiensis on the surface of mammalian intestinal cells, therefore, livestock animals and humans are not susceptible to these proteins. PVY is the type member of the potyvirus group and is an aphid-transmissible RNA virus that commonly infects potato causing serious disease and economic loss. The introduced viral sequences do not result in the formation of any infectious particles, nor does their expression result in any disease
Date: 13 Mar 2000 12:39:39 U
From: "Renu Namjoshi" firstname.lastname@example.org
Seafood.com March 13- A circular issued by the Saudi Government last week halted the import of canned tuna from Thailand into Saudi Arabia. The government said that tuna from Thailand was packed using genetically engineered soybean oil.
Saudi Arabia also banned imports of Danish beef products, following several other countries concerned about the possible effects of mad cow disease.
Mark Ritchie, President
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 First Ave. South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 USA
612-870-3400 (phone) 612-870-4846 (fax) cell phone 612-385-7921
Date: 13 Mar 2000 12:45:30 U
From: "Renu Namjoshi" email@example.com
from the European Voice:
Novartis AG notified the Commission on 18 Feb of plans to merge its crop protection and seeds businesses with AstraZeneca Plc's own crop protection business. (OJ C53/14, 25 Feb)
Date: 13 Mar 2000 14:39:30 U
Reuters Company News - March 13, 2000 13:41
LUBBOCK, Texas, March 13 (Reuters) - A unit of life sciences group Aventis has filed suit against Monsanto Co. , alleging that Monsanto has used its patents covering genetically modified cotton to stymie competition, the plaintiff said on Monday.
The suit alleges that Monsanto has exploited its patents to exclude competition in genetically modified, or transgenic, cotton. About 65 percent of the cotton seed sold in the United States is genetically modified.
Monsanto said the company will vigorously defend the suit, which it said was without merit since "the patent was properly awarded."
Aventis CropScience USA LP said it was joined in the suit by an independent researcher, Dr. Norma Trolinder.
The suit alleges that the named inventor of the patents obtained the techniques for regenerating transgenic cotton from Trolinder during a collaboration, but then failed to include Trolinder as a co-inventor, Aventis CropScience said.
As a co-inventor, Trolinder has the right under patent law to license the patents, the company said.
Trolinder and Texas Tech University, where she was a graduate student during the collaboration, have transferred their patent rights to Aventis, which will be developing transformed cotton in association with other Aventis companies and potential third-party partners, Aventis said.
Date: 13 Mar 2000 15:42:12 U
From: Robert Mann firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who oppose GE generally of whom I have never been one -- are normally confronted by the flagship of the alleged fleet of benefits, the fabulous human-type insulin made in GE microbes.
I wish to suggest here that it is overblown.
Colleagues in the local med school include leading experts on some aspects of diabetes. They tell me the biggest, most impressive-looking of the studies on diabetics injecting the two types of insulin have indeed reported no statistically significant differences in frequencies of harm. (I am copying this note to them in the interests of consistent advice the way science used to be until recently.) Thus the advantage of faster action continues to commend recombinant human-type insulin (rhIns brandname 'Humulin') to most medicos.
At the same time, impressive detailed BBC TV journalism has alleged higher frequencies of 'hypos' (bouts of low blood sugar) induced by rhIns compared with pig insulin. Bovine insulin is also still in some use.
The situation is indeed somewhat unclear. I certainly cannot reconcile the apparent contradiction (tho' I have some hypotheses which I'd like to feed into whatever further studies may be planned).
What is less unclear to me is whether a byproduct of pig abattoirs is actually more costly to purify than the rhIns which took, as few recall, years longer to bring to market than had been predicted. If the true R&D costs were fully reflected in the price of 'Humulin', I doubt this GE stuff could compete with an established purification method using essentially free feedstock.
If I may hazard a guess, I think rhIns ('Humulin') will turn out to have subtle anomalies of secondary structure (folding) so that even when the primary structure is exactly the same sequence of amino-acids as real human insulin some different molecular shape(s) can occur. That vague message seems to be the nearest to sense coming out of the prions (BSE, scrapie, CJD) puzzle, which turns on secondary structures.
Three decades ago, Crick's awful 'central dogma of molecular biology' was rivalled or even exceeded in repute by the doctrine that primary structure determines secondary and tertiary structure in proteins. This belief was crucial in the over-optimistic plans of the GE-insulin engineers. They then had to learn some news about folding of proteins, before they could offer for sale the rhIns which is now well established commercially.
I suspect there are subtle differences which are still little understood. And the practical question of whether rhIns is better medically than pig insulin remains unclear. That the picture is this murky may be annoying, but it should be reported as such if only because it is the flagship of the fleet of GE benefits, nearly all of which turn out - so far to be trivial, uneconomic, or downright fakes. And, yes, we will continue to assess the actual state of successes and, if we can find out about them, failures, regardless of the 'jam tomorrow' lures held out by the PR agents.
I see no reason to concede that rhIns is a great medical advance.
And whether it really saves any money I gravely doubt. But I doubt even more whether we will ever find out! The flagship will be cross-subsidised to whatever extent is necessary to keep it selling up large, and the fanatics will continue to make out that this commercial success in contained-lab GE means we must let the firms with the Martian names let loose any GE organism they like.
Date: 13 Mar 2000 16:45:11 U
From: "j.e. cummins" email@example.com
Codex Alimentarius Commission
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
JOINT OFFICE: Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 ROME Tel.:3906.57051 Telex: 625825-625853 FAO I Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facsimile: 3906. 5705.4593
Agenda Item 9 CX/FL 00/10
JOINT FAO/WHO FOOD STANDARDS PROGRAMME
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD LABELLING
Twenty-eighth Session Ottawa, Canada, 9-12 May 2000
The 25th Session of the Committee on Food Labelling considered a proposal by South Africa to develop recommendations for the term Vegetarian as these products were widely sold with a variety of claims which may create confusion for the consumer. The Committee agreed to propose the elaboration of definitions for such claims and this was approved as new work by the 22nd Session of the Commission (June 1997).
Following the approbation of this new work by the Commission, the 26th Session of the CCFL (1998) considered a proposed draft prepared by the authorities of South Africa. The Committee agreed that there was no need to elaborate general guidelines or standards for the use of the term Vegetarian and that any work in this area should be restricted to the elaboration of definitions for claims used on product labels. The Committee agreed that the document should be redrafted on the basis of the comments received and the discussions held at the session.
The 27th Session of the Committee (1999) considered a revised version of the Proposed Draft Recommendations prepared by South Africa. After a detailed discussion, the Committee agreed that there was a need for further clarification and that South Africa, in collaboration with India, would redraft the document for consideration at the next session (ALINORM 99/22A, paras. 75-81)
As it appears that South Africa and India did not come to a consensus on the definition of Vegetarian, their proposals are therefore presented separately in the present document for government comments at Step 3 and consideration by the Committee.
Governments and international organizations wishing to submit comments should do so in writing to the Secretary, Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, FAO, via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy, with a copy to Mr. Ron B. Burke, Secretary of the Committee, Director, Bureau of Food Regulatory, International and Interagency Affairs, Food Directorate, Health Protection Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0L2 (Fax. +1.613.941-3537 email: email@example.com, before 20 April 2000.
(PREPARED BY SOUTH AFRICA) (At Step 3 of the Procedure)
It is proposed that the terms may be considered conditional claims in which case the definitions for the different categories of vegetarian may be included under Point 5. Conditional claims in the Codex General Guidelines on Claims (CAC/GL 1-1979 (Rev. 1-1991)).
The proposed wording is as follows: Under (viii)
(viii) Vegetarian means ingredients of multicellular plant, fungal, algae and bacterial origin but excludes all ingredients of animal flesh and products obtained from the slaughter of an animal such as gelatin, animal fats, caviar, roe etc. and may include honey, dairy foods produced without any slaughter by-products, and /or unfertilised eggs obtained from live animals.
Claims that a foodstuff is suitable for vegetarians may specify the category of vegetarian by adding one or a combination of the following prefixes to the word vegetarian:
Date: 14 Mar 2000 02:36:47 U
Sunday, 12 March, 2000, 12:00 GMT
Protesters have destroyed some GM crops Environmental campaigners fighting genetically-modified crops are being accused of making Britain dependent on chemicals and pesticides.
A group set up to argue the case for GM foods, CropGen, has accused the campaigners of "condemning Britain to a chemical future".
The group says that in trials, GM plants have needed up to a third less artificial pesticides than conventional crops and this could help reduce farmers' over-dependence on chemicals.
On Friday, the government committee overseeing GM trials gave the go-ahead to the next phase after suitable test sites had been identified.
Since GM trials began in the UK, some opponents have vandalised and destroyed certain crops.
They say not only are the effects on humans and the environment unknown, but also ordinary crops could become contaminated.
GM crops can be devised to kill insects but the environmentalists' concern is to what extent insects will develop resistance to the modified crops
'Devastation' warning Now, CropGen, which represents the biotech industry, wants to nip opposition to the new trials in the bud.
The group says GM food is the way forward for meeting the world's demand for supplies.
And it even argues that biotechnology could help enhance diversity in the countryside.
Dr Guy Poppy, a member of the CropGen panel, said if "alternative" agricultural practices are not allowed, the effect on wildlife and the environment could be "devastating".
He said: "While organic farming provides an alternative with its lower use of pesticides, it alone cannot provide a sustainable food supply for the UK population.
"GM crops hold one of the best hopes we have for not only preserving but enhancing diversity in the countryside."
CropGen said the proposed farm-scale trials will provide extra UK evidence of the effects, if any, of GM crops on bio-diversity.
Panel chairman, Professor Vivian Moses, said: "We have to expose the hypocrisy of organisations which call for more research into the safety of GM crops, as they destroy the very evidence they demand must be collected."
The argument now is likely to focus on organic farming. Anti-GM campaigners argue that this is the best solution, but CropGen says organic methods cannot satisfy the demand for food.
CropGen is sponsored by a consortium including Aventis CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Novartis Seeds but the companies cannot vto any scientific position taken by the panel of academic scientists.
Chemicals 'irony' Friends of the Earth said GM crops and the farm-scale trials pose a potential threat to the environment and livelihoods of anyone wanting to farm without the new technology.
It said CropGen is funded by companies that stand to make massive profits from the commercial growing of GM crops.
FoE food campaigner Pete Riley said: "While it is heart-warming to hear its concerns about the dangers of pesticides, it's ironic that CropGen's sponsors include some of the companies that spent a good deal of the last century persuading farmers to use these chemicals in ever greater quantities."
He said the £3m of taxpayers' money spent on trials would be better spent on research into sustainable ways of growing food.
Date: 14 Mar 2000 02:46:11 U
Source: South China Morning Post,
Editorial - Page 18
Mar 14, 2000, © 1999, NewsReal, Inc.
Food regulators are to attend two conferences organised by the United Nations to determine Hong Kong policies on genetically modified food.
A meeting in Tokyo this week will address the safety of modified food and one Ottawa in May will consider labelling.
"We have to monitor developments on GM food safety control and labelling on the international front and stipulate local regulations with reference to international practices," Deputy Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Dr Leung Pak-yin said.
The new Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today launches a campaign and a consultation exercise to educate the public about possible health risks of modified food products.
"The aim is to provide the public with accurate information on GM food," Dr Leung said. "The public has been hearing a lot about GM food from green groups and the Government so the consultation is a chance for us to hear from traders and businesses."
A Web site and new booklets will be available from today at major supermarkets, district offices and public libraries. Two public forums will be held at the end of this month and in May to address safety and labelling.
Dr Leung's department and the policy-making Environment and Food Bureau have said labelling laws are difficult to formulate without international safety and testing standards, which will not be ready until at least 2003.
That date is the deadline set by the World Health Organisation's Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is organising the two international meetings and is in charge of formulating international standards.
Greenpeace campaigner Lo Sze-ping, who has been invited to speak at this month's public forum, urged the Government to speed up a labelling system.
"Countries in Europe and Asia are doing it and Hong Kong is lagging behind," he said. Japan and South Korea will have labelling laws next year.
The Consumer Council has commissioned random testing of about 60 supermarket food items to check for modified ingredients and the result is expected to be released later this week.
Date: 14 Mar 2000 05:56:28 U
From: Robert Mann firstname.lastname@example.org
The most reliable antiGE website I know of is www.ucsusa.org. Here is a glimpse of their info.
FlavrSavr Tomato Squashed
Virus-Resistant Squash No Longer on the Market
Glyphosate-Tolerant Canola Recalled
Sales Boom in Pesticides
In addition to the problem with premature boll drop in glyphosate-tolerant cotton covered in the section on glyphosate-resistant crops, three examples below illustrate the difficulties that some transgenic crops have encountered after commercialization.
The FlavrSavrTM tomato, the first genetically engineered whole food approved for commercial sale, entered the market with great fanfare in 1994. Engineered to ripen longer on the vine and still be hard enough to transport long distances, the tomato was heralded as the harbinger of a revolution in the fresh produce industry. Now, three years later, the tomatoes have disappeared. Calgene, the biotechnology company that developed the tomato (now a subsidiary of Monsanto), had two major problems. First, the company failed to develop a tomato that was, in fact, able to withstand the picking, packing, and shipping processes typically used to move fresh produce to market many arrived at their destinations so soft and bruised that they could not be sold as fresh produce. Second, according to the company, most of the FlavrSavr commercial varieties did not have acceptable yields or disease resistance in tomato-growing regions.
Sources: Calgene, "News Release Calgene Announces Second Quarter Financial Results," February 6, 1996; R.T. King, "Low-Tech Woe Slows Calgene's Super Tomato," Wall Street Journal, April 11, 1996, p. B1; "The Cutting Edge," Los Angeles Times, August 18, 1997.
In 1995, after a long and controversial review by the US Department of Agriculture, Upjohn's subsidiary Asgrow Seed Company, now part of Seminis Vegetable Seeds, received approval to commercialize yellow crookneck squash engineered to resist two viruses. Small quantities of seed were sold in 1995 and none in 1996. According to an official with Seminis Seeds, squash sales have been halted pending development of a squash variety resistant to three viruses.
Source: November 13, 1996, letter to J. Rissler, UCS, from Seminis Vegetable Seed, Woodland, Calif.
In late April the Manitoba Co-operator reported that Monsanto had recalled two varieties of transgenic Roundup ReadyTM canola from the seed market in Canada. The new canola, marketed by Limagrain Canada Seeds, was developed by Monsanto to resist its herbicide glyphosate (trade name RoundupTM). One and possibly both of the suspended varieties contained a glyphosate-resistance gene that had not been approved by Canadian authorities. One other transgenic variety, marketed by another seed company, was not affected by the recall. According to an official with Monsanto Canada, the error was a result of a quality-control failure during seed multiplication one of several growers responsible for seed increase apparently planted the wrong seed. Withdrawal of the two varieties prevented farmers from planting between a half and three quarters of a million acres of the one million acres originally expected.
Sources: L. Rance, "Registration Suspended: Genetic Mixup Prompts Recall of Roundup Ready Canola," Manitoba Co-operator, April 24, 1997; Conversation with M. Kenny, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, September 10, 1997; Conversation with Ray Mowling, Monsanto Canada, October 8, 1997.
Herbicide-Resistant Crops Expected to Benefit 1997 US Herbicide Sales.
The British Agrochemical Association (BAA) predicts that 1997 sales of herbicides in the United States will benefit from the expanded use of transgenic herbicide-resistant crops. A boost is also expected from sales of herbicides for the increased acreage of grain crops a result of last year's Freedom to Farm Act which allows farmers to diversify crops.
Source: "World Agchem Market Recovery Continues," Agrow, No. 284, pp. 21-22, July 11, 1997.
Robt Mann Mulgoon Professor emeritus of Environmental Studies, U of Auckland consultant stirrer & motorcyclist
P O Box 28878, Remuera, Auckland 1005, New Zealand (9) 524 2949
Date: 14 Mar 2000 09:23:01 U
From: wytze email@example.com
Objectives of the Forum:
Background to the Forum:
Practical Aspects of the Forum:
Inter-Departmental Working Group on Biotechnology.
Initial e-mail Conferences:
Joining the Forum:
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is establishing an Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture. We wish to invite you to be a member of the Forum.
To provide an open forum that will allow a wide range of parties, including governmental and non-governmental organisations, policy makers and the
general public, to discuss and exchange views and experiences about specific issues concerning biotechnology in food and agriculture for developing
countries. This will be done through a series of e-mail conferences, each lasting two months, on specific topics, for which background (before the conferences) and summary documents (after) will be produced.
Farmers and specialist breeders have developed and used many biotechnologies to improve plants and animals within agriculture, or to make food and agricultural products. Now, improvements in molecular science and in reproductive biology and a radical new understanding of genetics have resulted in the development of a range of new cutting-edge techniques. These allow us to directly modify genetic material, better study the extent/pattern of genetic variation, and they may greatly speed up progress. They may also help us to tackle so far intractable problems. The Forum will focus on such techniques.
Biotechnology is a collection of tools that can be applied to many areas of food and agriculture (including animals, crops, fish and forest trees). This collection comprises scientific tools that are very diverse and sometimes highly controversial. They may pose ethical problems and require substantial debate among policy makers, researchers and the public at large. Particularly in some areas of biotechnology, the debate has become quite polarised and there is therefore an increasing need for quality, unbiased, factual information. It is in this spirit that the Forum is being established.
The Forum is open to all parties interested in biotechnology in food and agriculture - NGOs, private industry, researchers, regional networks, private individuals and, the main target group, policy makers (especially those in developing countries). Registration is open to all, although active participants will be required to state clearly their affiliation, if they have any. The Forum is an official FAO activity and will be operated as a joint activity of technical Departments of FAO and of the National Agricultural Research Systems secretariat to the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, and co-ordinated by the recently established FAO
The Forum will operate a series of e-mail conferences on specific topics that will be discussed for a limited 2-month time period only. The topics will all have biotechnology as the core subject and may cover themes such as biosafety, public/private agricultural research, biodiversity, capacity-building, food safety, poverty alleviation, benefit sharing, intellectual property rights and food production, all topics as they relate to developing countries. As the Forum covers the broad range of activities found within the area of food and agriculture, it will include topics both of specific relevance to those interested in the animal, crop, fish or forestry sectors or of general relevance to all sectors. To register for any conference, individuals must first be members of the Forum and agree to abide by the rules of the Forum.
Before a given e-mail conference begins, all members of the Forum will receive an e-mail message inviting them to join the conference and giving them information on the timing of the conference plus a background document on the topic to be discussed. For all topics, certain issues should always be addressed in the conference and sought in the outputs, such as the practical consequences of the topic for developing countries or the relative importance of the topic for different regions of the developing world.
Forum members who register for a given e-mail conference will receive all e-mail messages from the conference, although they can sign off whenever they wish, and they may submit messages (of no more than 600 words) to the discussion. At the end of 2 months, the discussion is terminated and a brief summary document, again in layman's language, will be written and sent to all members of the Forum. At the same time, a more comprehensive summary document will also be written and made available. The summary documents will provide a synopsis of the main arguments and concerns discussed and, as such, will represent the current 'state of the debate' for that particular topic. The background and summary documents will be used as material for a future FAO publication. Whenever possible, the Forum will be linked to other ongoing FAO activities. For example, selected contributions to the Forum could be used as a basis for inviting people to present papers at the planned International Symposium on Basic Food Commodities to be held at FAO, Rome in June 2001.
More than one conference may be in operation at any given time. Each conference will have a moderator, who will screen all messages before they are posted to ensure that they follow the rules of the Forum (e.g., that they are not offensive) and are relevant to the topic of the conference. The moderator will play an active role in the conference to ensure that the discussion is of high quality. The level of involvement of individual members of the Forum will differ greatly. Some may choose not to register for any conferences and will only receive the announcements and the background and summary documents of each conference, while others may register for many conferences.
A website to complement and support the Forum has been established http://www.fao.org/biotech/forum.htm. It will contain information on the e-mail conferences, including archives of all messages posted, plus a glossary of biotechnology terminology.
It is planned to begin with four conferences which will deal with the crop, forestry, animal and fish sectors separately. The first conference will how appropriate are currently available biotechnologies in the crop sector for . It is planned that the next two conferences (on the forestry and animal sectors) will follow the same theme and begin roughly one month later and that the fourth conference (on the fish sector) will begin a further two months after that.
Individuals may register for the Forum at any time. This can be done by sending an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org leaving the subject blank and entering the one-line text message as follows: -
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After registering, members will be provided with more information on upcoming e-mail conferences and the rules of the Forum. Participation in the Forum and its e-mail conferences is contingent upon and constitutes acceptance of the rules of the Forum.
Please tell others about the Forum or let us know of others we should inform about the Forum. For further information on the Forum, contact the Forum Administrator at email@example.com
9th March 2000
Research and Technology Development Service (SDRR)
Sustainable Development Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Date: 14 Mar 2000 13:17:01 U
Source: The Independent - London
PUBLIC HOSTILITY to genetically modified food and other areas of scientific endeavour may drive industrial investment overseas and cause a new brain drain, according to a report by a House of Lords committee.
There is a crisis of public confidence in science that could be damaging for British jobs and for children who are being dissuaded from pursuing a scientific career, the Select Committee on Science and Technology says in its report on science and society. "Many people are deeply uneasy about the huge opportunities presented by areas of science including biotechnology and information technology, which seem to be advancing far ahead of their awareness and assent," the select committee says.
"In turn, public unease, mistrust and occasional outright hostility are breeding a climate of deep anxiety among scientists themselves."
The committee identifies public resistance to GM technology, cloning for medical purposes, foodirradiation and the deep-sea disposal of offshore installations as examples where Britain could ultimately suffer if public hostility results in a lack of investment in research.
Publication date: Mar 14, 2000 © 1999, NewsReal, Inc.
Date: 14 Mar 2000 17:01:51 U
From: Robert Mann firstname.lastname@example.org
This act 'we may take our tea-set and flounce off if you don't let us do what we want' is familiar in NZ also. Ace cow cloners David Wells & Phil l'Huiller (The Geniuses according to the Waikato Times page-wide headline) have threatened to take their project overseas if they don't get even more public funding.
Also they have been mysteriously held up for legal permission from the ERMA on their most radical trans-species project; on this I have publicly expressed sympathy with them. There are good reasons under the ERMA's authorising statute for refusing permits for GE, and the ERMA should use those reasons based in science & ethics; but instead, ERMA has staged large cowardly delays, vaguely alluding to its special Maori cttee (prime mover Mere Roberts). This is an undermining of the rule of law, and an evasion of duty. It is not a proper ground for refusal; and the ERMA hasn't the courage to refuse, but dishonestly delays perhaps hoping the applicant will give up. I am with TheA Geniuses(r) on this important procedural issue.
But on the general issue of their threat to flounce off if they don't get their way, I point out some very clever scientists ran out of public funding in a certain European country a half-century ago and were permitted to shift to another major military-industrial complex to pursue their enthusiasms. Was it unjust that they ran out of funding in their homeland? Was it right that they got funded elsewhere? If their fatherland had refused them funding for moral reasons, would we admire or deplore that restraint?
The possibility that The Geniuses would be allowed to continue their radical transgeneses elsewhere is no reason for us to let them do such expts here.
Date: 15 Mar 2000 05:58:20 U
March 15, 2000
WASHINGTON (AP) The United States and Britain agreed Tuesday to openly share data from a groundbreaking project to decode the human genetic pattern _ a study that could serve as the foundation for developing new medical cures and preventions.
President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a joint statement, said the study of the human genetic one of the most significant scientific
The two countries said they would share raw fundamental data on the human genome, including the human DNA sequence and its variations, with scientists everywhere. The joint statement urged private companies to follow the lead of government laboratories.
Some companies have shared data, while others have not. PE Corp.'s Celera Genomics Corp., a private company that is competing with government researchers, walked away from talks over cooperation and patent opportunities last month.
The White House and directors of the public-private Human Genome Project denied that the timing of the announcement from Clinton and Blair was intended to put pressure on Celera or other private firms.
The United States and Britain and the leading partners in the nonprofit Human Genome Project, which plans to publish a full genetic map on the Internet by 2003. The information would be free and available to all researchers. To realize the full promise of this research, raw fundamental data on the human genome, including the human DNA sequence and its variations, should be made Clinton and Blair said. Unencumbered access to this information will promote discoveries that will reduce the burden of disease, improve health around the world and enhance the quality of life for Intellectual property protection for gene-based inventions will also play an important role in stimulating the development of White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said the sharing of data would accelerate scientific advances.
As a practical matter, he said, the U.S. Patent Office has decided that scientists cannot obtain patents for individual If you develop a vaccine or something off of the genetic data _ that will continue to
Wall Street reacted quickly to announcement of the agreement, which puts the brakes on several companies' plans to sell genetic data to drugmakers and researchers.
Biotechnology stocks, particularly the shares of companies involved in genetic mapping, dragged the Nasdaq lower.
By mid-afternoon, Incyte Pharmaceuticals had fallen dlrs 49.25 to dlrs 147.75, and Human Genome Sciences fell dlrs 21.06 to dlrs 131.50. Celera fell dlrs 48.06 to dlrs 140.94 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Those reversals helped drag the Nasdaq index down by 95 points in mid-afternoon trading.
Date: 15 Mar 2000 06:00:00 U
March 15, 2000
BLACKSBURG, Va., March 14 /PRNewswire/ PPL Therapeutics Inc is pleased to announce that on 5th March 2000, five piglets, all healthy, were born as a result of nuclear transfer (cloning) using adult cells. This is the first time cloned pigs have been successfully produced from adult cells. DNA from blood samples taken from the piglets was shown in independent tests to be identical to DNA from the cells used to produce the piglets but clearly different from DNA taken from the surrogate mother. The DNA tests were carried out by Celera-AgGEN on coded samples. The cell samples had been provided to the testing company before the piglets were born.
The successful cloning of these pigs is a major step in achieving PPL's xenograft objectives. It opens the door to making modified pigs whose organs and cells can be successfully transplanted into humans; the only near term solution to solving the worldwide organ shortage crisis. Pigs are the preferred species for xenotransplantation on scientific and ethical grounds. Clinical trials could start in as little as four years and analysts believe the market could be worth $6 billion for solid organs alone, with as much again possible from cellular therapies, eg. transplantable cells that produce insulin for treatment of diabetes.
Nuclear transfer in pigs has proved to be more difficult than for other livestock, in part because pig reproductive biology is inherently more intractable, and partly because pigs need a minimum number of viable fetuses to maintain pregnancy, whereas sheep and cows, for example, need only one.
The method used to produce the five female piglets, to be named Millie, Christa, Alexis, Carrel and Dotcom, was different from that used to produce "Dolly" in that it used additional inventive steps for which a patent application has been filed. The work was carried out by PPL's US staff in Blacksburg, Virginia, partly supported by an ATP Award from the US Government's National Institute of Standards and Technology. This award has as its objective the production of a "knock-out" pig, i.e. a pig which has a specific gene inactivated. The ability to clone pigs is the first essential step in achieving this objective.
The gene to be inactivated is alpha 1-3 gal transferase. This gene is responsible for adding to pig cells a particular sugar group recognized by the human immune system as foreign and which therefore triggers an immune response leading to hyperacute rejection in humans of the transplanted organ. PPL has already achieved the required targeted gene knock out in pig cells, using the same patented technology that led to the lambs Cupid and Diana.
Alan Colman, PPL's Research Director said:
"In continuing its proud tradition of achieving world firsts -- first to clone an adult mammal, Dolly (with the Roslin Institute), first to achieve gene knock-out in livestock, and now first to clone pigs PPL has built up the technical expertise and intellectual property to be the first to produce the type of pig which should become the industry standard for xenotransplantation a pig lacking the alpha 1-3 gal transferase gene."
Dave Ayares, VP of Research at PPL Inc, said:
"We are delighted. Earlier ultrasonic scans suggested we might have three or possibly four developing fetuses. The fifth was a bit of a surprise but it is easy in pigs for a fetus to hide beneath another during ultrasound scans. Solving nuclear transfer in pigs was quite a challenge, so our ultimate success was all the more rewarding. This was a great team effort by all at PPL."
In addition to today's announcement, PPL's xenograft program has already made considerable progress in that potential solutions for all the four known causes of xenograft rejection have been devised and shown to work in cell based experiments. In addition to the gene knock-out discussed above that is required to prevent hyperacute rejection, three more genes will need to be introduced into pigs or into pig cells to control the two causes of delayed xenograft rejection. Finally, potential transplant patients will be given a transfusion containing modified cells, taken from the carefully selected strain of pigs that will supply the organs, which will "tolerize" the patient and thereby reduce long term rejection.
Ron James, Managing Director of PPL, said:
"We are unaware of any other group that has as comprehensive an approach to xenotransplantation as PPL. All the known technical hurdles have been overcome. It is now a case of combining the various strategies into one male and one female pig, and breeding from these."
"An end to the chronic organ shortage is now in sight. The next step for PPL is to repeat the pig cloning experiment to produce knock-out pigs. We are looking at various ways to fund our xenograft program, including discussions with potential marketing partners."
1. Xenotransplantation is the transfer of organs from one species to another. The fundamental problem with transferring organs between species is rejection by the recipient's immune system. PPL's program aims to overcome the causes of rejection and allow the development of a stock of transgenic animals containing genetic modifications which can be used as organ donors for humans.
2. For additional information on Xenotransplantation please visit PPL's web site: http://www.ppl-therapeutics.com/bkgroundinfo/pigs/pigs.html
3. PPL Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company which is one of the world's leaders in the application of transgenic animal technologies to the development and production of human proteins for therapeutic and nutritional applications. PPL's three lead products are AAT, fibrinogen and bile salt stimulated lipase (BSSL). PPL is the only company to offer a wide range of animals for transgenic protein production, including sheep, cows, rabbits and pigs.
4. PPL has a broad pipeline of diverse protein products including AAT, the Company's lead product, which is currently in Phase II clinical trials for cystic fibrosis. AAT is also under development for the treatment of congenital deficiency. PPL's other lead products are fibrinogen and bile salt stimulated lipase (BSSL).
5. PPL has a world wide exclusive licence from the Roslin Institute to use the Institute's intellectual property relating to nuclear transfer (cloning) in the field of production of proteins for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical use in the milk of ruminant livestock and rabbits.
6. It had long been decided that the first cloned pig PPL produced in the new millennium would be called Millie. Christa, Alexis and Carrel are named after Dr. Christian Barnard, who performed the first human-human heart transplant in 1967, and Dr. Alexis Carrel, Nobel prize winner in 1912, for his significant work in the field of transplantation.
The unexpected fifth is called Dotcom, or Dotty for short, because as Ron James joked: "Any association with dotcoms right now seems to have a very positive influence on a company's valuation."
SOURCE PPL Therapeutics Inc
CONTACT: Dr. David Ayares, VP of Research and Development of PPL Therapeutics Inc., 540-961-5559; or Dr. Ron James, Managing Director of PPL Therapeutics plc, 0171 601 1000 on 03-14-00 until 17:00 or 0131 440 4777 thereafter
Date: 15 Mar 2000 07:52:56 U
From: "j.e. cummins" email@example.com
The article below has interesting aspects. Cloning does not effect the danger of releasing endogenous (sleeping viruses) from the cloned pigs, that is the great danger. The research was not published in a science journal but is planned to be published in nature or science (recollect the squeels of horror about lack of peer review from greedy academic piggies when Dr. Puzstai commented on toxic potatoes).The release was directed at promoting investment.
Finally, human experiment has been handled a loose and injurious manner in gene therapy trials, since the motive for the research was clearly financial, from the article below, failure to conduct safe human trials should be made a criminal offence.
Date: 15 Mar 2000 07:52:56 U
From: "j.e. cummins" firstname.lastname@example.org
By GINA KOLATA, NEW YORK TIMES, March 15, 2000
Scottish company, PPL Therapeutics, announced yesterday that its scientists had cloned a pig, creating five identical piglets.
The goal, PPL said, is to use the technology to create genetically altered pigs whose organs can be transplanted into humans without being rejected by the human immune system.
PPL provided no details of how the cloning was done or even how many efforts were needed to succeed. Instead, the company issued a news release announcing that a pig had been cloned.
Dr. David Ayares, the vice president of research and development at PPL, said yesterday that he hoped the announcement would attract investors.
The company had been talking with drug companies, venture capitalists and investment bankers, he said.
Dr. Ayares, who works at the company's laboratories in Blacksburg, Va., said PPL hoped to publish the details of the pig cloning in a scientific journal, either Science or Nature.
It was scientists at PPL, working with others at the Roslin Institute, who first cloned an adult mammal, a sheep in 1996. They delayed announcement about the sheep, named Dolly, until the company had filed for patents, notifying the world with a paper published in Nature in 1997.
Since then, scientists have cloned cattle and mice, and even clones of clones of mice.
But pigs, Dr. Ayares said, "certainly have been more of a challenge." He said the scientists had to modify every step of the process to get it to work for pigs.
Like cloning in sheep and cows, Dr. Ayares said, the process is inefficient it can take several hundred efforts before a clone is born.
To clone, scientists take a cell from an adult animal and slip it into an egg whose own genetic material has been removed. The genes of the adult cell take over the egg, directing it to divide and form an embryo. The embryo is placed in the uterus of a surrogate mother where it grows into a genetically identical copy, a clone, of the adult whose cell was used.
The commercial value of cloning, scientists say, is as an effective way to genetically modify animals. Before the adult cell is used to start cloning, scientists could alter it. Whatever changes they make would be carried into the cloned animal.
PPL's goal is to make cloned pigs with genetic modifications that make their organs suitable for transplantation into humans. Since pig organs are the right size for humans, and since pigs are inexpensive and easy to breed, scientists have long considered them as potential donors. The problem is that the immune systems of humans or other primates react violently to pig organs, destroying them almost instantly.
Dr. John S. Logan, the vice president for research and development at Nextran, a biotechnology company in Princeton, N.J. that hoped to develop pigs with organs suitable for transplant, explained: "When you transplant a pig organ into a nonhuman primate, it is rejected immediately. It just turns black before your eyes, within 30 minutes."
The reason, Dr. Logan said, is that pig cells are studded with a sugar molecule, galactose alpha 1-3 galactose, that the human immune system immediately attacks.
At Nextran, scientists have avoided the problem by injecting pig embryos with genes that block the immediate rejection process. Cloning provides another potential solution, scientists could eliminate the sugar molecule before using the pig cells to create clones.
Even when the immediate rejection is prevented, though, scientists still have to block a long-term rejection process that takes place weeks later.
"That really is the limiting factor," Dr. Logan said.
Related Article: Scientist Reports First Cloning Ever of Adult Mammal (Feb. 23, 1997)
Date: 15 Mar 2000 09:49:21 U
From: Jaan Suurkula email@example.com
Message to Governments Demanding Withdrawal of GE Foods
To Prime Minister Tony Blair
Open Letter To The Government
Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST)
The message below was faxed by us to Tony Blair one week ago. It is signed by over 90 scientists and physicians. We will soon send it also to other governments but want to get even more signatures if possible.
If you are a scientist or physician, please sign on to the list. If you know someone who might want to sign, please forward.
The page for registering signatures is found at: http://www.flashbase.com/forms/letrsign
The same letter to governments as below is also found at http://www.psrast.org/psrlet.htm
Our finances are completely exhausted, and we would need 2000-3000 USD for a global press relase and for mailing/faxing the message world wide. Please note that we can only take international bank cheques, not ordinary cheques. Alternatively use bank to bank transfer, see http://www.psrast.org/sponsor.htm
Jaan Suurkula MD Chairman of PSRAST
We greatly appreciate that you have admitted the insufficient safety of Genetically Engineered Foods.
You will find below an open letter with a recently collected list of signatures by scientists and physicians demanding that all GE foods be withdrawn, because they have not been sufficiently tested to ensure food safety.
Please make this letter known to your government.
Jaan Suurkula M.D.
Chairman of PSRAST
Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST)
A Global Network for impartial interdisciplinary evaluation of the safety and value of new technologies
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax +1-651-319-2056 http://www.psrast.org
We, the undersigned scientists and physicians, demand that all genetically engineered (GE) foods be withdrawn from the market unless they have undergone rigorous safety assessment including long term testing on animals and humans. This includes all GE foods that have been approved on the basis of the principle of "substantial equivalence".
In practice, all GE foods on the market have been insufficiently tested and should thus be withdrawn.
The reasons are as follows:
The principle of "Substantial equivalence" is based on the assumption that if a GE food and its natural counterpart are compared for a limited number of chosen traits, and are found to be similar, then there is no reason to submit the GE food to careful testing.
This assumption has no basis in science. It does not take into account the possibility that in each separate case, insertion of genes into DNA may cause metabolic disturbances, or unpredictably generate potentially harmful substances. This has been predicted on molecular biological grounds  and also demonstrated in experimental cases . Such substances may be very difficult to detect. Thus there is a considerable risk they will be overlooked if the superficial tests used for "establishing substantial equivalence" are applied.
The insufficiency of the principle of substantial equivalence is briefly summarized in a web document  and is explained in more detail in a recent article in the science journal "Nature" . Only by applying rigorous food safety testing, including long term testing on animals (preferably lifetime) and humans (at least 3-5 years),is it possible to minimize the risk of missing unpredicted harmful substances .
The principle of substantial equivalence has no scientific basis. Since this is the standard which has been used for approving GE foods, it follows that none of the GE foods on the market today canbe considered safe. In the worst case exposure of the population may have disastrous consequences. Therefore, GE foods at present on sales should be withdrawn from the market immediately. No new GE foods should be introduced until proper methods of assessment have been applied.
see for example the web document: "Is there enough knowledge about effects of GE foods to make it possible to estimate their safety?" at http://www.psrast.org/defknfood.htm