GENTECH archive


More on Dr Pusztai's research

I was concerned about the Gatehouse claims about tissue cu;ture toxins  when
they were in obvious contradiction to the Pusztai repot so i refered back to
my original source. this was his reply:
Clive Elwell

>Dear Clive,
>I will send you the articles and Rowett report.
>Concerning the article in the Independent: If you read Pusztai's report the
>first two pages he very clearly says that second generation potatoes were
>That means they for sure were not from tissue culture. Gatehouse knows that
>perfectly well because he was involved in growing these potatoes.
>I sent a letter to the editor about this, saying that Gatehouse behaves
>shameful and should first establish that Pusztai is in a position to
respond to
>this kind of allegations. Actually I understand by now that Pusztai's
>order indeed has been lifted, but he first wants to talk to MP's.
(Guardian). I
>will call him soon again.
>Concerning the Bt toxin. I asked Pusztai about it and he said that Bt does
>to sugars so in that sense they are comparable. Indeed it is of great
>importance to find out more about this. Pusztai has basically been working
>plant lectins but he knows quite a bit of bacterial ones also. At least it
>means that Bt crops do absolutely need to be tested the same way as these
>potatoes, but this is as true for the soy. Monsanto tested the soy by
>the EPSPS protein in an E-coli bacterie. Now this is meaningless for
>reasons. First, the EPSPS protein may be as non-toxic by itself as the
>lectin. Second, it is more and more accepted (even now by the Scientific
>Committee on Plants of the EU) that you cannot really compare a
>protein (as it is produced in the soyplant) with a bacterial-bacterial
>(which is done in the testing by industry).This is because of what is
>post-translational differences between plant and bacterial proteins. Third,
>Pusztai's findings show clearly that you have to test the product as it is
>produced and that even when you work with a non-toxic gene, there seems to
>something happening in the geneconstruct which turns it into a damaging
>Even if  bacterial lectins would be very different and not comparable to
>lectins, you would still have to retest the maize because they were tested
>same way as soy. I will send you a study on Bt-tomatoes plus the comments
>it. (the comments are actually by Pusztai but keep that secret, please).
>What exactly happens needs to be investigated further, in the laboratory of
>course and of course not in the supermarket.

>> Could I have your comments on the following article:
>> "=============================
>> 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
>> experiments.
>> 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."