GENTECH archive


Re: L-tryptophan, reply to archive 494

At 14:46 1998-12-07 +0930, you wrote:
>Well hello Jaan, long time no read. I should have expected that any
>challenge to one of your most cherished stories would bring you back. 
>This is a clear case of hair-splitting to prop up a story popular with the
>Natural Law Party. As you yourself report, the compounds are "nearly
>identical compounds. Their chemical structure is similar to two
>contaminants found in the L-tryptophan linked to EMS symptoms in 1989."
>Given similar structures even in the absence of genetic engineering, how
>can this not make genetic engineering a less likely explanation?

No hair splitting at all. It is a well established fact that in biology,
similar structure does not mean similar effect. In some cases the
difference is enormous, one substance being physological and a substance
with closely related
structure may be a powerful poison. 

The observation at Mayo does not reduce the likelihood of genetic
engineering as a cause. It is not relevent as it is about a different
substance than L-tryptophan and about different contaminants.

>Genetic engineering never was the most probable cause of EMS, and is less
>so now. 

Genetic engineering never was the most probable cause in the opinion of
Biotechnology proponents - for obvious reasons that blind them to an
impartial evaluation. 

Jaan Suurkula