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GM Bug could end all life NZ Herald Feb 2001

All life on earth could be destroyed by genetically modified bacteria a scientist has told the Royal Commissionon Genetic Modification. Four scientists gave evidence for the Green Party at the hearing this week via video link from the US.

Soil ecologist Elaine Ingham spoke about a plant-killing GM bacteria that her Oregon State University team prevented from being released into the environment. She said the alcohol-producing bacteris had ben approved for field trials when her tram discovered its lethal effects. She believed the widespread plants deaths caused by the bacteria would in turn effect all life on earth.

The GM klebsiella planticola produced alcohol from post-harves crop residue. The left-over organic sludge would be returned to the fields as fertilizer. Dr. Ingham said she had independently tested the bacteria on plants which the regulatory authority had failed to do.

After seven days all wheat plants turned to slime This showed the need for better risk asessment of ecological impact.

GM monkey first BBC Thursday, 11 January, 2001

Andi is fit and thriving, say researchers The first genetically modified monkey has been born in the US.

The scientists who produced the animal at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center say their experiments may suggest a way to speed new treatments for a host of disabling human conditions.

The rhesus monkey was made from an egg that had been modified to include a simple marker gene that makes a particular molecule in cells glow when viewed under a special microscope. But the researchers say the same technology could be used to introduce more significant changes, such as those that would make primates mimic closely human diseases like breast cancer or HIV.

Such animals might make better models of disease than the altered mice and flies already used in labs. This could hasten understanding of disease processes and the development of new therapies.

'Accelerated discovery'

"We could just as easily introduce, for example, an Alzheimer's gene, to accelerate the development of a vaccine for that disease," said co-researcher Professor Gerald Schatten.

"In this way, we hope to bridge the scientific gap between transgenic mice and humans. We could also get better answers from fewer animals, while accelerating the discovery of cures through molecular medicine."

The first GM monkey is called Andi, which is backwards for "inserted DNA".

Many organisms have been genetically engineered. Flocks of GM sheep produce human proteins for use in the drug industry and engineered bacteria and yeast routinely provide human proteins such as insulin. But until now no-one had managed to put a new gene into a primate, the class of mammals that includes humans.

'Morally abhorrent'

Last year, Professor Schatten's team produced Tetra, a female monkey clone created by splitting an embryo in half, as occurs naturally when twins are formed.

Both Andi and Tetra remain fit and healthy at the research centre, says Professor Schatten. But the news that science has developed the technology to turn monkeys into models of human disease has outraged animal welfare groups.

In the UK, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), said the Oregon research would inevitably mean more death and suffering for primates. Wendy Higgins, the group's spokeswoman, said: "This is just the start. Now we're talking about small numbers of animals and gene markers, but what will happen in the future is that scientists will either add or knock out genes in primates to see what happens to them.

"The end result is terrible suffering. It's bad enough using rodents, but for scientists to play God with primate genes is morally abhorrent."

Project aims

Professor Schatten counters such comment by saying modified primates would only be used in clearly defined circumstances.

He said the aim of the project was not to breed hundreds and hundreds of monkeys for medical research.

"We wouldn't want to make a monkey that carries a disease unless we knew there was a cure right in front of us. Our goal isn't to make sick monkeys. Our goal is to eradicate diseases," he said.

The Oregon research is published in the journal Science.

Europe approves new GM rules Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, BBC

There has been an anti-GM backlash across Europe The European Parliament has approved proposals to tighten restrictions on the use of genetically modified (GM) products.

The new measures include the strict labelling and monitoring of GM foods, feeds, seeds and pharmaceuticals.

They also set up a public registry, which will allow consumers to trace products.

The move paves the way for the EU to lift its three-year moratorium on licensing new GM products.

But environmentalists are opposed to granting GM licences because they say modified crops could spawn "superweeds" or damage human health.

Their arguments have not been scientifically proven, but neither has the opposite claim that GM crops are safe.

Safety fears

The new rules will now have to be formally adopted by the Council of Ministers - a process expected to take around 18 months.

Since 1999, new varieties of GM crops have been subject to the de facto ban because of safety fears and public resistance to eating GM foods.

There have been high-profile protests against GM crops across Europe, particularly in France and the UK.

But British MEP David Bowe, who proposed the legislation, said the vote was necessary if Europe was to hold its own in biotechnology.

"This is a unique agreement. We are cutting through red tape because industry cannot wait forever. We must keep Europe in the fast lane on biotechnology," he said.

"With this vote consumers can have confidence that GM products licensed for sale in the EU have met the toughest standards in the world."

France is pushing for further rules to make sure that GM plants can be identified at all stages of their production and consumption.

The UK Government supports the new measures but says no commercial GM crops will be planted in the UK until the results of the current trials have been studied.

Risk assessment

The new deal would allow licences to be granted, but only if firms provide a risk assessment and carry out continuous monitoring of any possible dangers.

Permission would lapse after a certain period.

More than a dozen licences had been granted before the moratorium came into effect, including four from the US biotech giant Monsanto.

A wave of new applications is now expected from Monsanto and others.

Genesis of Eden Diversity Encyclopedia

Get the Genesis of Eden AV-CD by secure internet order >> CLICK_HERE
Windows / Mac Compatible. Includes live video seminars, enchanting renewal songs and a thousand page illustrated codex.

Join  SAKINA-Weave A transformative network reflowering Earth's living diversity in gender reunion.

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