GENET archive


Antibiotic resistance

Title: Antibiotic resistance

Additional enquiries at the UK Advisory Committeee on Novel Foods and Processes today resulted in nothing more than a ACNFP press release, which does not add very concrete information. We decided to take a look into our archives, where we found information that was published by BATS (Biosafety Research and Assessment of Technology Impacts of the Swiss Priority Programme Biotechnology of the Swiss National Science Foundation) in 1997. The title of the publication  is: "Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Organisms and Detection Methods".

The BATS publication explains that AAD stands for: 3"(9)-O-aminoglycoside adenyltransferase; conveys (bacterial) resistance to streptomycin and spectinomycin.

In combination with other antibiotics, streptomycin is used in standard therapeutic treatment of tuberculosis.

The AAD-gene has been introduced in:
-Monsanto's Bollgard Cotton (boll- and budworm resistant), which also contains the nptII-gene for kanamycin/neomycin resistance;

-Monsanto's RoundupReady Cotton, which also contains the nptII-gene for kanamycin/neomycin resistance;
-Monsanto's New Leaf Potato (colorado beetle resistant), which contains the AAD-gene only in some lines, and which also contains the nptII-gene in some lines.

We were unable to find information about Cron containing the AAD-gene.

According to the Dutch Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification (COGEM: the committee that assesses the risks under 90/220) there are no objections against the use of nptII-, nptIII (amikacin)-, bla- (ampicillin), hygromycin- and AAD-genes because medical and veterinary application of the antibiotics is limited.

We disagree with COGEM because the presence of antibiotic resistance marker genes does not provide additional quality to the product, poses an additional risk (however relatively small) and can be avoided.

More information about AAD can be obtained from

Huib de Vriend
stichting Consument en Biotechnologie
Postbus 1000
2500 BA Den Haag
The Netherlands
phone: +31 70 44 54 498
fax: +31 70 44 54 592