tryptophan: The Mayo study does not prove that GE was not the ca
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- Date: 07 Jan 99 14:51:15
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I am still confused about the issue below, and I hope someone on this
list can help out. I've used the L-tryptophan argument myself, and
government scientists in the Philippines keep replying that later
studies found that the toxin was due to some non-GE contaminant,
citing other studies.
So far, this case seems to be the only case where actual deaths have
occurred from GE. (If there are others, I would be very interested in
knowing about them.) I would also appreciate an explanation in simple
terms whether the L-tryptophan case remains a strong argument against
GE and why.
>At 16:33 1998-12-04 +0930, Rick Roush wrote:
>>In terms of the claims made about L-tryptophan, the following is a case in
>>point, found on the http://www.redpepper.org.uk/xgenes.html site
>>recommended by BEVERLYtang, archive 476
>>" In 1989 there was an outbreak of a new disease in the US, contracted by
>>over 5,000 people and traced back to a batch of food supplement produced
>>with GE bacteria. Even though it contained less than 0.1 per cent of a
>>highly toxic compound, 37 people died and 1,500 were left with permanent
>>disabilities. The government declared that it was not GE that was at fault
>>but a failure in the
>>purification process, but this new toxin had never been found in non-GE
>>versions of the product....."
>>The latter claim is now simply not true in view of the work cited in
>>published in the September issue of the journal Nature Medicine.
>Rick's conclusion is not correct.
>I have carefully read the reports in question from the Mayo Clinic:
>First, the study in questions was not on L-tryptophan but on a related
>compound, 5-Hydroxy-L-Tryptophan (5-OH-Trp or 5-HTP).
>Second, the contaminants found in the 5-HTP sample were NOT IDENTICAL with
>those found in the EMS case.
>To quote exactly from the text: "peak x is, in fact, a family of nearly
>identical compounds. Their chemical structure is similar to two
>contaminants found in the L-tryptophan linked to EMS symptoms in 1989."
>Third, "peak X" has not been associated with EMS.
>The only thing that we are justified to conclude from the Mayo study is
>that some impurities appeared in the 5 HT samples. These were not the same
>as the causative agents of EMS. The fact that they were chemically similar
>does not mean that they are as dangerous or dangerous at all. In some cases
>there are very small chemical differences between harmless molecules and
>The conclusion of Rick has thus no scientific basis.
>- It has not been demonstrated that the impurities causing EMS may occur in
>L-tryptophan produced by non-GE sources.
>Genetic engineering, which has been experimentally shown to cause metabolic
>abnormalities, remains the most probable cause of the metabolic abnormality
>producing the extremely potent impurity causing EMS.
>Jaan Suurkula MD