GENTECH archive


More on Dr Pusztai's research

Does anyone have any comments on the suggestion made in this article below?
Clive Elwell
Independent 16 Feb 99
Expert discredits GM risks study
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
CLAIMS that genetically modified potatoes damaged the
health of rats have
been savaged by a scientist who took part in the
John Gatehouse, a reader in biological sciences at Durham
University, said
the effects allegedly observed by Arpad Pusztai of the
Rowett Research
Institute almost certainly have nothing to do with genetic
modification. Dr
Pusztai's supporters said experiments in which he fed GM
potatoes to rats
showed the act of genetic modification, rather than toxins
used, caused
immune suppression and stunted growth.
Dr Gatehouse, one of three leaders of the government-funded
project, said
he had spoken out because of irresponsible press reports.
If any rats became ill it was probably because of a
build-up of natural toxins
in the potatoes as a result of the plants being grown from
tissue cultures.
"There might be a scientific explanation for what Dr
Pusztai has observed but
it is not necessarily to do with genetic modification."
An effect of culturing plants from tissue, which was how
the potatoes in the
experiment were grown, is that they regenerate with high
levels of natural
toxins, which can stunt the growth of laboratory animals.
Potatoes are
naturally rich in toxins but can be made more poisonous by
growing the plants
from tissue cultures. "It is an old effect and well known,"
Dr Gatehouse said.