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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  August 2008

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE August 2008

Subject:

Re: Time to end attacks on GM

From:

Robt Mann <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 26 Aug 2008 23:39:41 +1200

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (39 lines) , AkMusInst9=00Augm.rtf (731 lines)

Adjunct Balter wrote:

>I think this list could use a real scientific debate on whether the
>concerns about GMOs that SftP first raised more than 30 years ago
>are still entirely valid today.

The deployment of the polymerase chain reaction decreased
some GM-risks in a big way. But, overall, the grounds for concern
have become clearer, more varied, and more detailed, in the 3 decades.
I have given you, a y ago or so, more than enough scientific
fact & reasoning for you to see that GM is a grave threat to the
health of the biosphere. This material is attached again, for those
uncommitted observers of this 'debate'.
You have also been given (what you should have been well
aware of) The Schubert Letter.
Yet you're still acting dumb.
What is your motive?



> That would also be a way of getting past the focus on Robert Mann's
>anti-woman attitudes

Here you flag the fact that you're a liar. You well know
that this accusation is unwarranted, and indeed refuted by my record
of crediting good women scientists. But you're a front-wimp for the
hatemongers exemplified by ace spewer of vituperation Ms C. H. Pine.
Why haven't you more courage?



> and get to the substance of the matter.

You have made it clear that you don't want to do that. Why
are you still in this "open mind" pose?


RM


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\pard\plain \ri-618\sl360 \f20 {\fs28 \tab \tab }{\b\fs28 THE
SELFISH COMMERCIAL GENE\par
\tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab Robert Mann}{\fs28 \par
\tab \tab \tab \tab }{\f22\fs28 invited lecture, RSNZ Auckland
branch }{\fs28 \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab }{\f22\fs28 Auckland Museum
13 Sep 2000}{\fs28 \par
\par
\tab \tab \tab [}{\f3 additions Sep 2004}{\f3\fs28 ]\par
}{\fs28 \par
}{\b\fs28 Introduction\par
\tab }{\fs28 Genetic manipulation (GM) or genetic engineering (GE)
mean artificial transfer of genes - pieces of DNA - to produce a
transgenic organism, }{\i\fs28 e.g}{\fs28
. jellyfish genes into sugarcane or human genes into cows. The
methods of artificially joining pieces of DNA from different
organisms' genes were invented as recently as the mid-1970s and are
collectively called }{\b\fs28 recombinant-DNA}{\fs28
  technology.\par
\tab The abbreviations are Hobson's choice between pairs of letters
already taken by huge USA corporations - GM and GE - but I'll use
them interchangeably.\par
\par
\tab Technologies for }{\b\fs28 cloning}{\fs28 animals are, wholly
or largely, different. But many concepts for cloning mammals involve
not merely trying to copy existing animals but also splicing-in
recombinant DNA from other species. Often the idea is to produce
some foreign protein in milk.\par
\par

These techniques no more entail a uniform degree of hazard than does
nuclear science. As in nuclear technology, so with genetic
engineering: the tag 'nuclear' does not necessarily connote any
serious degree of hazard, and some versions of GM or of cloning
  may well be quite OK. \par
\par

But some versions are not OK. You do therefore have to perform
sceptical analyses of GM proposals if you want to assess their
hazards. This is one of many similarities between the two
technologies. I wish to point out other similarities - and some dif
ferences.\par
\par
Do not equate GM with the larger category 'biotechnology'. GM is one
kind of biotechnology but there are others too. Any attempt to
equate GM with the yet wider category 'Life Sciences' is PR deceit
(and illustrates how unpopular GM has become).\par
\par
Genetic engineering's brief two-decade history has been characterised
by exaggerated claims of benefit, confusing hope with fact in attempt
to allay natural fears (and to stimulate stock-market ramps).\par
\par
What can it do for you? Here's some typical PR hype:\par
}\pard \fi640\li560\ri-618\sl360 \tab Multi-billion dollar new life
science industry for the region\par
It was MAF men Keith Steele and Neil Richardson promoting cows "not
as milk producers but as 'biological reactors' producing a vast range
of products which could open up multibillion doll
ar international marketing opportunities for the benefit of the
region and the country. Treatment for multiple sclerosis could be
only a glass of special milk away. The Waikato is ideally situated
as the centre for this unlimited new industry based aroun
d the world-famous Ruakura research centre and the excellent [{\i
sic}] University . . . . {\fs28 \par
}\pard \ri-618\sl360 {\fs28 \par
Technology using nuclear fission was procured by scientists. It was
not initiated by elected representatives. The technical enthusiasts
procured the funding for A-bo
mbs and the nuclear reactors which were first created for the sole
purpose of making plutonium for A-bombs. Similarly, billions of
dollars have been procured for gene splicing by enthusiasts who say
they are going to produce organisms, improved on commerc
ial criteria, which could not occur in nature. In our little
country, around $120M so far - $18M/y lately - has been procured
by gene-manipulators from the government to subsidise a wide variety
of GM which the public know little of. (This is one gli
mpse, by the way, of how sincere is the belief in leaving allocation
of resources to 'market forces'.)\par
\par
\tab
The monstrous blind alley of nuclear power stations should teach us
how far astray society can be led by technical enthusiasts who act
something like a priesthood presiding over an arcane speciality which
they naturally don't want obstructed by any who do
n't understand the technical details. This attitude fits ill with
democracy.\par
\par
} {\f16383 \tab Nuclear fission is scientifically understood, and
we have the techno
logy based on that science - nuclear power reactors - commercially
mature. Electricity from nuclear power stations will be reliable,
clean, and so cheap we often won't bother to meter it. Not one
reputable scientist disputes these claims by the enthus
iasts for this modern, hi-tech wonder technology.}{\fs28 \par
\tab Such euphoric claims went practically unchallenged for as long
as a decade from the late 1950s. Then in the late 1960s a few
scientists began to tell the public that nuclear reactors could
devastate areas
  about the size of our island, and that even if nothing goes wrong at
the reactor the spent fuel poses grave hazards. Fortunately for our
little country, other sources of electricity (hydro and geothermal)
were obviously cheaper so that it was not until th
e 1960s that our government's nuclear power programme began. The same
New Zealand bureaucrats who in 1966 proudly paraded foreign experts
planning a nuclear station at Baring Head (12 miles from Parliament)
were by 1974 bitterly defensive when the Campaign
  for Non-nuclear Futures - a terminating }{\i\fs28 ad hoc}{\fs28
coalition - got going. By 1979 a Royal Commission had laid the
programme gently to rest; nobody respectable has tried to revive
it.\par
\par

But let us never forget that several hundred nuclear power reactors
were foisted on the world, and many thousands of people doomed by the
1986 Chernobyl accident, as a result of that disgraceful decade when
sheer lack of interest among scientists, suppress
ion of the few critics, and stunting of alternatives, left the public
crucially ignorant.\par
\par

I need hardly add that the media almost entirely failed to reveal any
significant facts about the hazards of nuclear power, at least until
the late 1970s. Today the media are failing in their duty, far more
culpably in that they can easily find out the ar
guments for increased caution on GM but are nearly all too lazy &/or
too craven to do so. The best website is www.psrast.org.\par
\par
Today the smug status of genetic engineering eerily recalls that
period in the early 1960s when nuclear r
eactors were "commercialised" on the basis of enthusiasts' claims of
understanding & control. New ranks of enthusiastic experts now tell
us there's no significant threat from artificial gene transfers: no
great harm could result, and any minor mishaps are
  (they claim) so unlikely that you can forget these hypothetical
notions. "The hazards imagined in the mid-'70s have turned out to be
unreal" is a typical recent expert quote.\par
\par
Alongside airy dismissal of the dangers, the promised benefits are wildly exagg
erated - for example, millions of venture-capital dollars have been
procured by claims of imminent production of "pharmaceutical
proteins" which in truth are nowhere near medical use and can in one
case be already obtained free! The actual list of real
benefits from GE organisms is very short, after a quarter-century of
'jam tomorrow' hype thru the media. In our parliament MPs have given
lists of what they believed to be actual accomplishments of GE which
are however still not real. [ }{\f3
I have upbraided Rt. Hon. S. Upton in person for this.}{\fs28 ]\par
\par
}{\b\fs28 The Doubts}{\fs28 \par

Many scientific and moral leaders have queried GE. The science upon
which GM technology is founded - neo-Darwinism and the 'master
molekule' idol status for DNA - are under strenuous criticism from
scientific thinkers. Genes are not Lego modules whic
h can be blithely slotted into very different organisms free from
unintended effects. Rogue diseases are a genuine concern arising
from detailed, sceptical appraisal of some GE projects. But global
ecological damage is the gravest threat.\par
\par

One tawdry old argument we have heard since 1974 and can expect to
hear again in all its flagrant deceit is the claim that gene
transfers occur naturally so GM is only hastening them. This line of
talk is a smoke-screen designed to obscure the fact that G
M usually performs artificial transfers which are }{\b\fs28
not}{\fs28 believed to occur in nature. This fact is denied when
possible harm is suggested, but is acknowledged, indeed emphasised,
for claims of benefit. \par
\tab If we change the rates, or even worse the specificities, with
which genes can jump around in infectious manners, we may wreak
biological havoc on a global scale. Go back to Ovid's }{\i\fs28
Metamorphoses}{\fs28 to glimpse what might go wrong.
\par
\par

But the gene-jockeys claim they can, godlike, foresee the
evolutionary results of their artificial transposings of human genes
into sheep, bovine genes into tomatoes, etc. This is extreme,
deluded arrogance; for the theologically inclined, I commend one c
hapter: }{\i\fs28 Genesis 3}{\fs28 .\par
\par
The science these gamblers hawk is, on several levels, junk. I
haven't space here to detail this contention, only to mention a few
aspects of their junkiness. \par
\tab \tab
* Gene-jockeys often work on the assumption there are only 4 letters
in the 'alphabet' of DNA (called for short G, C, T, and A); for
example, "DNA is a very long molecule built of only 4 letters" - Dr
Andy Shenk, Genesis R&D Corp (Auckland, N.Z.) TV1 '
Holmes' show 00-6-27, and Prof Ros Macintosh of Massey U, TV1 this
Monday. But it has been known for several decades
  that other 'letters' exist in DNA. The functions of the 'odd' bases
- methyl-C, methyl-G, and others - are largely unknown, but that
does not mean they're equivalent to 'The Big Four'. They are often
ignored by genetic engineers sequencing DNA "copi
ed" by systems that produce only 'Big 4' polymers. This is junk science.\par
  \tab \tab * They pretend that the effects of genes inserted by
radically unnatural methods are predictable, when they are known to
be extremely variable (usually lethal).\par
\tab \tab * They pretend that a cell surviving such genes-insertion
processes, and then selected on just one property - resistance to
an antibiotic - and then grown into a whole organism, }{\i\fs28
e.g.}{\fs28
  a potato, will have all properties at least as good as those of a
normal organism.\par
\tab Never since the Nazi attempts to legitimize racism has science
been so rapidly & severely degraded. Apologists for GM posing as
defenders of true science - }{\i\fs28 e.g.}{\fs28 ACT - are
taking up an untenable, indeed ludicrous, stance.\par
\par
}{\b\fs28 The Commerce}{\fs28 \par
Doubts have been swept aside by the thrust of transnational
corporations funding university and 'crown' GM labs, as well as small
groups of academics starting GE firms (a far cheaper image to erect
than that of a nuclear reactor manufacturer).\par
\par

A further subtle commercial lure is the relative difficulty of
tracing the offender when the 'one in a million' mishap occurs. The
Swedes in April 1986 only briefly thought the unusual radioactivity
in one of their nuclear stations was from another of the
ir own - it was traced t
o Chernobyl within days; but if an epidemic of this or that disease
breaks out amongst cows or humans in the Hamilton district, the fact
that the nearby government research station at Ruakura has been
largely given over to GM for foreign purchasers will no
t suffice to sheet home any blame. Any ensuing inquiry would elicit
much closing of ranks as most of the scientists able to understand
such arcane matters covered up for each other. Ronald Reagan's
favourite criterion - deniability - is all too easil
y arranged in the GM business. \par
\par
}{\b\fs28 How Much Harm; How Often?}{\fs28 \par
In appraising dangerous technologies, it is best to estimate the
}{\b\fs28 hazard}{\fs28 - the scale of harm in the event of a
major mishap - as a separate question, and then analyse if possible
the }{\b\fs28 risk}{\fs28
   - the probability that the major mishap will occur. Much
confusion between these two aspects of danger has been created by
language-tampering, even in such formal arenas as the }{\i\fs28
Journal of Risk Analysis}{\fs28
. Some ERMA staff are trying to organise a pseudo-professional club
on Risk Assessment to feed them what they want to hear for their
purpose of rubber-stamping; they did not invite any sceptical speaker
for their Dec 13 2000 inaugural meeting.\par
\par

The hazards of GM rival even nuclear war. Biology is so much more
complex than technology that we should not pretend we can imagine all
the horror scenarios, but it is suspected that some artificial
genetic manipulations create the potential to derange th
e biosphere for longer than any civilisation could survive. If only
enthusiasts are consulted in appraisal of GE proposals, such
scenarios will not be thought of.\par
\par
The nuclear parallel is again cogent. Not until the AEC's
'Rasmussen/Levine' report of 1974 were sceptical analysts such as
Kendall and Lovins asked for their opinions (and then they were
ignored).\par
\par
The hazard certainly includes some mortality: dozens of people were
killed in the 1980s by impurities in L-tryptophan (a natural amino
acid, sold as a 'dietary supplement' to avoid medicine regulations)
made by Sh
owa Denko using GE'd bacterial cultures. By early 1991, Showa Denko
had paid $4.6M in out-of-court settlements amongst lawsuits for over
$810M. By now, the totals are roughly U$2,000,000,000 and 80 - 120
deaths, possibly more. Thousands continue maimed
. This actual damage by GE <}{\f3\fs20
http://www.connectotel.com/gmfood/trypto.html> }{\fs28 is one basis
of the campaign for labelling as such any GE'd foods which may be
permitted. \par
\par
\tab Eating a certain GE potato damaged internal organs of rats in
the pioneering test of GE food by Dr Pusztai. He was vilified and
sacked.\par
\par
\tab
Damage to non-human organisms is a real concern. Monarch-butterfly
caterpillars eating leaves dusted with a GM-maize pollen were -
nearly 50% - killed, and the survivors stunted, compared with the
identical experiment using ordinary maize pollen.
\par
\par
\tab The role of emotion is often misrepresented by enthusiasts for
dangerous technologies. They decry as 'emotive' any argument or fact
inconvenient to their cause, but their own enthusiasm does not count
as
  undesirable emotion; indeed they pretend to be 'objective' -
devoid of emotion - when in fact they're ruled by emotion, against
reason.\par
\par
\tab A spectacular double standard prevails: benefits of GE are
stated as fact when they are no more than fantasies, }{\i\fs28
e.g}{\fs28 . AAT treating emphysema,\par
\tab [ }{\f3 PPL Ltd have continued this furphy, unchallenged by the
media, only admitting last year that their thousands of transgenic
sheep near Whakamaru are a flop. The company has now gone bust.
ERMA failed to require autopsies.}{\fs28 ] where
as any suggestion of harm is ruthlessly rejected, usually by personal
vilifications and always by an ultra-stringent standard, }{\i\fs28
e.g}{\fs28 . the outrageous purging of Dr Pusztai.\par
\par
\tab
Professor Peter Bergquist coined the term 'the Liberia of GM' in the
mid-70s as he feared NZ would be used by foreign gene-technologists
for experiments that wouldn't be permitted in their homeland. He
assessed the benefits and the hazards at that early
stage as "equally speculative". The experiments in the intervening
quarter-century
have revealed some actual harm; many potential forms of damage have
been pointed out, but the gamblers roar on cheerfully; and the
benefits - from crops and animals, as distinct from contained
microbial cultures - remain speculative (except for Monsant
o who sell the cloned seeds resistant to their main herbicide
Roundup\'a8 and also sell some seeds for crops containing modified Bt
insecticide). No benefit to farmers has yet been shown. The yields
of RoundupReady\'a8
  soybeans are 4 -7% lower than those from proper soybeans, except in
drought districts where the GE yield is 30% lower. Monsanto's
NuLeaf}{\fs28\up6 \'a8 }{\fs28 Bt-potato reached 5% of the USA potato
crop but already sales are dropping [}{\f3
and now the brand has been withdrawn from sale}{\fs28 ]. One of the
most respected science reporters, Nicholas Wade, pointed out in the
}{\i\fs28 New York Times}{\fs28
   recently that almost all GM corporations have yet to win a cent of
revenue, let alone net a profit.\par
}{\b\fs28 \par
  Law}{\fs28 \par
In 1977 the N.Z. Association of Scientists proposed a moratorium on
GE pending a full p
ublic inquiry. This policy was taken up then, two decades ago, by a
few politicians. But the genetic engineers had one or two rabid
advocates in Parliament, notably Jim Sutton's brother Bill, and
avoided hostile scrutiny. Only now, two decades later, th
e Royal Commission has been formed; but how much GM can proceed
during its inquiry remains to be determined. [ }{\f3
new permits for field trials were suspended during the RCGM's
proceedings. Pre-existing trials were allowed to continue. Special
legislation was passed to allow release of GMOs; but none has yet
been legally permitted in NZ.}{\fs28 ] \par
\par

At last, a form of legal regulation of novel organisms emerged - the
ERMA. In its first 22 field-trial decisions, ERMA has issued 22
approvals. This is a biased, secretive, even obstructive agency,
which collects a lot of money from both the gene-jockey
s and the government to maintain an expensive rubber-stamp. It is
chaired by Mr W J Falconer, a main pusher of the Mobil/Bechtel
synfuels factory (at Motunui) which has
not made any petrol for several years and was always an inferior
plan. Several other members have no obvious qualification. It was
National Party cronyism at its worst, and these stooges may go on
issuing legal permits while the Royal Commission examines
  for the first time which GM experiments should be permitted. The
problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard. [ }{\f3
ERMA has continued unsatisfactory; some scathing criticisms by G
Nahkies' cttee have evoked no clear progress.}{\fs28 ]
\par
\par
Having taught on
  environmental health hazards for many years in science & medical
faculties, and having served as an adviser to successive Ministers of
Health in the first dozen years of the Toxic Substances Board, I know
all too well how overloaded government staff, even
  when backed by statutory powers, get subverted by not only the
specific claims but more importantly the whole value-system of the
industries which they are supposed to regulate. The imbalance is
particularly severe for such pathetic pretences as have bee
n staged to regulate GE. A pro-GM ERMA staff member has been
transferred to the Royal Commission staff; she should be removed. [
}{\f3 this operative did go back to ERMA, but not before a lot of
harm had been done.}{\fs28 ]\par
\par

Laboratory experiments have been approved by local safety committees
wielding legal powers completely delegated by the ERMA which however
still collects a hefty fee. Over a hundred such GM experiments have
been exposed as illegal. No penalties are propos
ed. [ }{\f3 RCGM recommendation 6.2, for a review of the containment
systems, has been ignored by the Clark regime.}{\fs28
] Misuse of the legal system for such a pseudo-regulatory charade
undermines the rule of law. Little wonder then that direct action
has been resorted to, in Britain, the USA, and here, to uproot
experimental GM crops.\par
\par
}{\b\fs28 GE and the Dairy Industry\par
}{\fs28 What then of the "multi-billion dollar new life science
industry for the region" alleged by Keith Steele and Neil Richardson
?\par
\par
The NZ Dairy Board declared its intention to pour $150M into GM
experiments over the coming 5y. They said they were spending $60M/y
on R&D and GM is taking $30M/y extra. [ }{\f3 Media fail to report
on the corporations }{\i\f3 e.g}{\f3
. Gluckman's ViaLactia}{\f3\up6 \'a8}{\f3 that procured dozens of
millions of this budget for dairy-GM after the Dairy Board was
abolished. Main proximal procurer Kevin Marshall is down the
road.}{\fs28 ]\par
\par
You can reasonably assume that most of the $42B/y mirage projected
for the NZ dairy industry relies on GE fantasies which are far from
reality and may never be feasible let alone profi
table. It is not extremely safe to assume they would all gain legal
permission, after the Royal Commission on GM has performed the first
sceptical investigation, by public hearings. There have been many
flops in GM. Let me give a few examples of how dai
ry GE can go wrong.\par
\par
A relatively early example was the mid-1990s attempt to make a human
protein in goats' milk by Lincoln University biochemistry professor
Bullock, funded by Genzyme Corp of Framingham, Massachusetts. This
case came & went entirely with
in the never-never period when no legal regulatory regime existed in
our country but Prof Petersen of Otago presided over a
pseudo-regulatory Interim Assessment Group (IAG) administered by the
Ministry for the Environment.\par

The project was to raise and study a herd of goats GEd to contain in
their milk the human protein CFTR - cystic fibrosis
transmembrane-conductance regulator. The professor's formal proposal
was written, and ancillary mass-media propaganda was slanted, s
o as to create the impression th
at the Genzyme/Lincoln work is based on some scientific hypothesis
which could well lead to therapy for cystic fibrosis. This is a
misleading impression. Even if it proves feasible to insert the gene
for the human lung protein CFTR into goat embryos or z
ygotes, leading to goats' milk containing significant quantities of
human CFTR, there will still remain the difficulty that no therapy is
in prospect using any concentrated preparation of CFTR. The
proposal's phrase "the drug produced" was therefore false
  and deceptive.\par
\par
  The leading medical experts on cystic fibrosis have found themselves
in the unpleasant role of breaking the news to the parents of CF
sufferers that, contrary to the Genzyme/Bullock/}{\i\fs28 NZ
Herald}{\fs28
    image, no therapy is in prospect. It is cruel to raise hopes
which must thus be dashed by others.\par
\par
The public should also learn that permission was denied for Prof
Bullock's conjoint proposal to produce similarly in goats' milk a
second human protein, AAT, which has even less prospect of utility or
  market value but which he termed a "pharmaceutical protein" - of
which more soon. The IAG, to its credit, recommended against the
inclusion of AAT in this CFTR caper. \par
\par
The results, reported in a couple of sentences by the Ministry for
the Environment, were a complete flop, the goats were destroyed, what
was done with their remains is unclear, and Prof. Bullock went
overseas.\par
\par
Which media were not too lazy or too craven to report this caper? \par
\par
  A more important and interesting example is the current at
tempt to genetically engineer that human protein called AAT in N.Z.
sheep. A small Scottish company ("Pharmaceutical" Proteins Ltd -
the 'Dolly' procreators & impresarios - financed by the large German
multi-national Bayer) wanted to field-test in New
Zealand ewes GE'd to make in their milk a human protein called by the
unhelpful name alpha-1 antitrypsin (abbreviated AAT). The only
reason stated for doing such experiments in N.Z. was this country's
scrapie-free status. The Ministry for the Environment
's Interim Assessment Group (IAG), although devoid of experts on
prions (scrapie, mad cow disease, CJD, etc.) and dominated by GE
enthusiasts who appear to think that fears of GE are absurd, advised
their Minister to refuse - which he did. Reasons, when
  reluctantly disclosed, turned out to be mere econobabble; prions
were not mentioned. \par
\par
Prevalent misinformation tending to favour the AAT project, due
partly to an anonymous 'news' report in }{\i\fs28 Science }{\fs28 ,
requires correction in at least the following respects.\par
\par
\tab
(a) AAT-deficiency is equated with congenital emphysema, an
unjustified jump beyond the evidence. Most of those born
AAT-deficient do not develop lung disorders. Reports on N.Z. TV and
in newspapers have credited AAT as a treatment for emphysema; the p
ublic would take this to mean the common smoking-induced illness,
greatly exaggerating the claim of usefulness. The congenital version
is very much rarer, if a proper diagnostic category at all.\par
\par
\tab (b) AAT is asserted to be in use now to treat congenit
al emphysema, whereas such crude preliminary trials as have been done
prove very little. In fact there exists no use, let alone a market,
for genuine human AAT which is routinely purified as a by-product and
discarded in standard blood-bank fractionations
  of pooled human plasma.\par
\par
\tab (c) AAT is implied to be very valuable ("U$100,000/y per ewe"),
which factoid is then used to justify attempted production by genetic
engineering. All this "future earnings" is intended to stimulate a
stock-market ramp before a
nything saleable has actually been produced. That at least is the
intention. But of course such a bubble must burst after enough time
without selling anything. This is the fate of nearly all such
capers. \par
\par
The then Minister 'for' the Environment, ex-Rhodes Scholar & lawyer
Mr Simon Upton, solicited a modified application, which was approved
- on economic grounds.\par
\par
Then the ERMA, flying in the face of the facts, approved expansion of
PPL's flock to 10,000. Nothing was to go offsite except the milk (for
  processing by a Tainui enterprise in Hamilton). But then, the ERMA
has never rejected a GE field trial. It stages some dramatic delays
- on that, I sympathise with applicants.\par
\par
This PPL caper is only one of many similar. The standards of
truthfulness in the GE trade are reminiscent of those prevailing in
the computer trade, with which it has intimate links.\par
\par
That is the context in which the AgResearch}{\fs28\up6 \'a8}{\fs28
Ruakura group l'Huillier, Wells }{\i\fs28 et al}{\fs28 . claim they
might make a cow whose milk could simply be drunk to treat the
demyelinating illness multiple sclerosis. There is }{
\i\fs28 some}{\fs28 evidence this might work; but it could go badly
wrong, in the people and perhaps in the cows. Demyelination can be
}{\b\fs28 induced}{\fs28
  by injecting the protein in question, and we know little about what
it will do by mouth. The more likely motive for this project is to
get patents on new cloning techniques, as have been issued to the
'Dolly' impresarios. The }{\i\fs28 Waikato Times}{
\fs28 bills these enthusiasts as 'The Geniuses'. Most cloned
mammals to date have aged prematurely and died young, so there's room
for improvement in the exactitude of these "exact" copies.\par
\tab Phil l'Huillier had a go at me in public so I asked him whether
he really believed the milk he plans is likely to help MS sufferers.
His answer was only that he HOPED it would.\par
\tab \par
\tab We haven't time today to discuss GM-trees, for which a main
world research centre is the corporation called Genesis}{\fs28\up6
\'a8}{\fs28 in Parnell. Also I must largely leave you to read up on
GM-crops, which are the main GE organisms ou
tside containment - mainly in N. Amer. and Argentina. One
practitioner of GM-plants, Prof Patrick Brown, has expressed severe
misgivings about the current versions, on the PSRAST website.\par
\par

The depraved trade of mercenary deception, commonly called PR, has
enormous influence in the suppression and distortion of information
about GM. This has been feasible largely because the NZ media have
almost totally failed to tell key facts about GM. Th
e }{\i\fs28 NZ Herald}{\fs28 's Yoke Har Lee, for instance, largely
just laundere
d PR claims from the gene-jockeys, with no balancing comment from
critics. Radio NZ's 'Eureka' operatives Alan Coukell & Veronika
Meduna have promoted GM by very uncritical biased reporting. \par
\par
}{\b\fs28 Global Reach}{\fs28 \par

Government, gutted & starved by the ideological hatred of public
enterprise (Rogernomics, Ruthanasia, and then Jenocide - our
versions of Thatcherism), is largely warped to the commercial service
of foreign corporations, and is almost totally unable, so
far, to regulate GE. The charade of pseudoregulation - the
expensive rubber stamp called ERMA, and the even less regulatory
ANZFA - fails to control anything much, even labels. }{\f3
  [ A 'Food Standards Authority' dominated by Australia appears to
represent no progress.]}{\fs28 \par
\par
}{\b\fs28 GE Products\par
}{\fs28
A few biochemicals are being made commercially by GM in microbes.
One which looms over New Zealand is recombinant bovine growth
hormone, also known as bovine somatotropin. Canada rejected this,
mainly because it is cruel to the cows. But there are other
  drawbacks. \par
I excerpt from a recent summary by Samuel S. Epstein M.D., Professor of \par
Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois School of Public Health:\par
\par
}{
The GM milk hormone, rBST, is exclusively manufactured in Austria by
Biochemie Kundl, a Novartis plant under license to Monsanto; in 1998,
over 100 million doses of the GM hormone were exported to the U.S.
and also to 16 Third World Countries. While the a
dministration of rBST to cows in Europe was banned (very recently) on
unarguable animal health and welfare grounds
, there are no restrictions yet on the import of GM dairy products,
nor any requirements for their being labelled GM. GM milk, produced
by injecting cows with the hormone rBST, is qualitatively and
quantitatively different from natural milk. These differ
ences include: \par
contamination of milk by the GM hormone rBST; \par
contamination by pus and antibiotics resulting from the high
incidence of mastitis in rBST injected cows; \par
contamination with illegal antibiotics and drugs used to treat
mastitis and other rBST-induced disease; \par
increased concentration of the thyroid hormone enzyme thyroxin-5'-monodeiodinase;
\par
increased concentration of long-chain and decreased concentration of
short-chain fatty acids; \par
reduction in casein levels; \par
and major excess levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor, IGF-1,
including its highly potent variant, in the milk and, surprisingly,
in the blood of people who drink it. IGF-1 is under strong suspicion
of causing cancer, notably breast and prostate. }{
\fs28 \par
\par
Monsanto have tried to register their Posilac}{\fs28\up6 \'a8}{\fs28
rBGH in this country, but late in 2002 the impression emerged that
this had been rejected. Its exact legal status could be usefully
clarified by a good law student.\par
\par
  }{\b\fs28 Wake Up!}{\fs28 \par
It is now a quarter-century since genetic engineering was identified
in the same league as nuclear weapons among major threats to the
biosphere. During this period, market forces have prevailed instead
of informed democracy.\par
\par
Genetic engineering is by now more popular - more widely practised
- than dangerous versions of nuclear science ever were. But it is
in general an imprudent gamble and profoundly wrong.\par
\par

Corruption of scientific institutions is one of the offences of this
gene-tampering fad. The Royal Society of NZ was manipulated by the
then president of the NZ PR Institute, Ms Norrie Simmons, in her
private trust GenePool, funded partly by Monsanto -
a front for the GE trade, touring Dr Richard Bellamy & Professor Sir
John Scott to say there's little to worry about. GenePool also
maintained an extremely bia
sed website claiming benefits of GM but minimising hazards. Has
science ever been so warped by PR? }{\f3
  [Simmons features prominently in the corruption documented by Hager
in his book on GM corn permitted by Hobbs/Clark. She issued gagging
writs on Jeanette Fitzsimons list-MP and RadioNZ for reporting her
role in the King Salmon field trial PR. Why has th
at phoney suit not been brought on for trial while years passed? ]}{\fs28 \par
\par
Biologists are being purged from our universities to make room for
gene-manipulators exp
ected to bring in venture capital. The head of the Massey University
black suit gang stated in writing and on TV that his "repositioning"
is to promote computing and gene-tampering. This is being done by
purging proper academics. Some of his darling gen
e-tamperers have been promoting GM with false claims. [}{\f3 He has
now moved back overseas.]}{\fs28 \par
\par
Misallocation of money, and more importantly of scientific talent
seduced by GM, are among the reasons why the duty to care for natural
ecosystems is so disgracefully
  neglected. Greedy nerds applying the hacker mentality to life
itself is the ultimate decadent technomania. The prostitution of
science is most complete and most dangerous in the selfish commercial
gene. When will we muster the ethical power to wake up
from this sleepwalking?\par
\par
How much GE should be allowed to continue during the public inquiry? \par
I suggest\par
1 do not permit new field trials\par
2 shut down existing field trials\par
3 review laboratory GE precautions\par
4 of course, receive no applications for release of any GM organisms\par
5 abolish Gluckman's "Independent" Biotechnology Advisory Council
which was set up by the previous government with several gung-ho GM
advocates but no known scientific critic. [}{\f3
this Maurice Williamson brainchild was quietly allowed to die,
without any condemnation for its uselessness & bias. It has been
approximately replaced by new biased qangos.}{\fs28 ]\par
\par
   }{\b\fs28 What To Do Instead of GE}{\fs28 \par
We did not just campaign against nuclear power. People want to know
what to do instead. The Campaign for Non-nuclear Futures took every
opportunity to point out better technology & ideas.\par
\par

Instead of GE, and agribusiness more generally, the only real hope
for feeding the world is organic agriculture - as advocated &
practised by Prince Charles. If we can do it with apples, as is
being achieved very profitably in NZ now, we can do it much
more generally. The lower costs more than compensate for the cases
of slightly lower yields; in general the yields of organic gardening
are several times those achieved in agribusiness.\par
\par
\par
\tab *\tab *\tab *\tab *\par
The two best websites on GE are:\par
http://www.psrast.org\par
http://www.ucsusa.org\par
\tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab * * *\par
}\par
\tab
Dr Mann was Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry in the University of
Auckland and then became its first (and last) Senior Lecturer in
Environmental Studies. In retirement he works mainly on
solar-thermal and motorcycling inventions, as well as helping to bri
ng recombinant DNA under control.{\fs28 \par
\par
\tab \tab \tab \tab \tab * * * * *\par
}}

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