info4action archive


GE - GMO News 09/02

1) French farmers fight US 'imperialism' - The Times 2/9/99
2) ADM warns suppliers to begin crop segregation  DECATUR, Ill., (Reuters)
3)   Austin American-Statesman August  31, 1999 -Debate growing on engineered
foods;  More U.S. consumers are  pushing  BYLINE: Rick Weiss 
4) Campaigners, stores welcome ADM call on gene crops  Adds news on Spanish 
imports in paragraphs 13 and 14 and French call for segregation in  paragraph
11 and 12 By Christopher Lyddon LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters)  -
5)  The Toronto Star September 2, 1999 - GROCERY STORES TARGETED IN
6) Canadian groups join in anti-GM food fight By Irene Marushko
WINNIPEG,  Sept 2 (Reuters) - 
7)   Brazil farmers tap black market for GM soy - group By Phil Stewart SAO 
PAULO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - 
8)   The Toronto Star September  2, 1999, PLAYING GOD WITH NATURE IS MONSTROUS
9) US corn sales to Iberia could resume if GMOs segregated By David Brough
LISBON, Sept 2 (Reuters)
10)  Texas A&M researchers clone steer  COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Sept. 2
(UPI) >
11)Australian Study: Many Doubt Claimed Benefits Of GMO Food
12)  BusinessWorld September  2, 1999 - GM corn  firms liable for mishandled
tests BYLINE:  Earl Warren B. Castillo
13)  Japan Corn-Europe may benefit from GM label plan By Aya Takada TOKYO,
Sept  2 (Reuters) -
14)  Most S.Koreans say GM foods should be labelled By Cho Mee-young SEOUL, 
Sept 2 (Reuters)
15) The Independent (London) September  2, 1999,  - MICE MADE SMARTER WITH GM
16)  The Christian Science Monitor September  2, 1999,  -Building a better
brain? BYLINE:  Alex Salkever, Special to  The Christian Science Monitor
17)  The Guardian (London) September  2, 1999 - Mice given extra gene become 
smarter BYLINE: Tim Radford  Science Editor  
18)  U.S. farmers face extra work, costs in GM crop battle By Bob Burgdorfer 
CHICAGO, Sept 2 (Reuters) 
19)  EU's Wallstrom backs environmental liability By Michael Mann BRUSSELS,
Sept 2 (Reuters) 
20)  09/02 US Farmers, Processors Resent ADM Policy On GMO Crops By Daniel
Rosenberg CHICAGO (Dow Jones) 

1) French farmers fight US 'imperialism' - The Times 2/9/99
McDONALD'S fast-food restaurants bore the brunt of demonstrations across
France yesterday by farmers protesting against what they see as an
threat to their livelihoods and the French way of life. 
About 100 farmers gathered in central Paris to support protests by hundreds
more at about 20 McDonald's restaurants from Lille in the north to Lyons and
rural towns across the south of the country. Their immediate aim was to win
release of Jose Bové, a southern farm activist who has become something of a
hero with his campaign against American trade sanctions on Rocquefort cheese
and other traditional French fare. 
M Bové was arrested last month after leading a squad of farmers that ransacked
a McDonald's site at Millau, in the Aveyron département. The region has been
hit by Washington's punitive duty on ewe's cheese, imposed as part of the
retaliation for Europe's ban on hormone-fed American beef. 
With 750 restaurants, McDonald's is a convenient target for the latest
rebellion by France's ever-angry farmers. Coca-Cola is also a target in a
protest aimed as much at global economic pressures as at American
"I am a hostage to global commercialisation," M Bové said at the Montpellier
courthouse yesterday, as judges considered whether to release him on bail. Guy
Kastler, a farmer, said: "We are here to defend the right of people to feed
themselves with their own food in their own way and against the determination
of the United States to impose their way of eating on the whole planet." 
McDonald's says that it wants to drop charges against M Bové and claims
that 90
per cent of its products are French-produced. Worried about local mayors'
threats to impose "Coca-Cola taxes", the soft- drink firm said yesterday that
it was "working closely with the national farming organisations in France to
make sure they understand our contributions to the French economy". 
However, the struggle shows signs of broadening into national resistance,
backed by the Communist Party, the Greens and much of the public, against
industrialised food production and the supposed ills of the globalised
"Jose Bové has fulfilled every ecologist's dream: dismantling a McDonald's,"
said Denis Baupin, spokesman for the Green Party, which is a partner in the
Government of Lionel Jospin. 
Farmers are protesting against low prices, industrial methods and genetically
modified crops. Their fears about the increasing domination of big retail
distributors were sharpened yesterday by the merger of Carrefour and Promodes,
two French hypermarket chains. The Socialist-led Government sought
yesterday to
reassure farm unions that the resulting huge retailer - the world's second
biggest - would not mean further pressure on small farmers. 
The protest is being taken seriously by the Government as the European Union
prepares to confront the United States in the next round of world trade talks,
in the autumn. Opinion polls show huge public support for the farmers' goals.
Noel Kapferer, a professor at a Paris business school, said that the campaign
against McDonald's was the first sign of a European rebellion against
American-imposed cultural uniformity. "Drinking Coca-Cola in the 1970s was to
support the Vietnam War," he said. "Today consumers are rejecting the American
way of life." 

© Times Newspapers Limited 
2) ADM warns suppliers to begin crop segregation  DECATUR, Ill., (Reuters)
>  Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. Thursday warned  its
> grain
>  suppliers to begin segregating genetically modified (GM) corn,
> soybeans
>  and other crops from conventional crops. In a statement that  drew a
> sharp
>  response from U.S. corn farmers, ADM released a notice it sent  this
> week
>  to grain elevators that supply crops to its many processing  plants.
> "As
>  your trading partner, we want to alert you to a change we are
> experiencing
>  in consumer demand," the company said. Some of our customers are
>  requesting and making purchases based on the genetic origin of the
> crops
> used to manufacture
> their products. If we are unable to satisfy their requests, they
> do have alternative sources for their ingredients.
>  We encourage you as our supplier to segregate non-
> genetically enhanced crops to preserve their identity," the ADM
> statement said. The ADM position echoed statements last
> spring by U.S. corn refiners and other processors that farmers
> who planted GM crops were responsible for keeping them separate.
>      But the latest statement injected fresh concern among U.S.
> farmers, who are already facing low crop prices, about how they
> will market the harvest of corn and soybeans that will begin in
> a few weeks in the Midwestern Corn Belt.      "A corn grower's
> paycheck is the harvested grain they sell," National Corn
> Growers Association president-elect Lynn Jensen said in a
> statement. "This change in ADM's policy could mean for some
> growers that the 'Supermarket to the World' is now backing away
> from cashing that check."
>      Crops genetically altered to resist pests or herbicides
> debuted three years ago in the United States, and their use has
> skyrocketed. Grain industry sources estimate that 35 percent of
> this year's U.S. corn crop and 55 percent of soybeans derive
> from GM seeds. Potatoes, cotton and sugarbeets are among the
> other crops produced with GM seeds.
>      In Europe, however, a storm of protests has grown this year
> centered on concerns about the health and environmental effects
> of GM crops and foods. European consumer groups, food makers and
> supermarkets have increasingly demanded segregation and labeling
> of GM food substances, a concern cited by ADM.      ADM said
> that while the company "remains supportive of the science and
> safety of both biotech development and traditional plant
> breeding methods," in the end "we must produce products that our
> customers will purchase."      In Europe, the food industry and
> anti-GM campaigners generally welcomed ADM's statement.
>      "It's excellent that they're doing this finally after
> having said for years that it was impossible to segregate," said
> a spokeswoman for Greenpeace, a leading GM opponent.
>      Jensen said U.S. corn growers would do everything possible
> to accommodate ADM's request but he also questioned the ability
> of the U.S. grain handling system to succeed at separating all
> GM crops from non-GM crops.      "If ADM and their processor
> customers are serious about segregating conventional and
> genetically enhanced grain, then they should be willing to pay
> incentives to growers and elevators in order to get it," Jensen
> said.   REUTERS
> ======#======
3)   Austin American-Statesman August  31, 1999 -Debate growing on engineered
foods;  More U.S. consumers are  pushing  BYLINE: Rick Weiss  
BODY: Food is more  thoroughly labeled than
>  ever. When shoppers go to the grocery, they can  tell at a glance how
> much
>  salt, sugar, fiber, fat and selected nutrients  each item contains.
> But
>  labels do not disclose perhaps the most  controversial change in the
> nature
> of food these days: the addition of genes from unrelated organisms
> through
> genetic engineering. Now, spurred by a debate over possible health and
>  environmental risks from gene-altered foods in Europe, where labeling
> is in
> force, some Americans are starting to call for
> such labels here.
>    It is a demand that the food industry desperately hopes will
> go away. But many experts say the labeling issue will be the
> battleground on which the war over engineered food will be
> fought.
>    "Labeling is absolutely a critical acid-test issue for the
> U.S. biotech food industry," said Charles Benbrook, a consultant
> on biotechnology for Consumers Union and a former executive
> director of the National Research Council's board on
> agriculture, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences.
> Labels come with stigma, industry says
>    Until recently, no one in the United States seemed to care
> whether gene-modified food was labeled. But that's changing.
>    Last summer, two consumer groups sued the Food and Drug
> Administration, claiming that the agency's failure to institute
> a labeling regimen for gene-altered food violates the Food, Drug
> and Cosmetic Act. The law demands that food additives not
> "generally recognized as safe" be labeled. This spring,
> activists gathered a half-million signatures calling for
> labeling of gene-altered food and submitted them to Congress and
> other officials.    Most food processors and retailers are
> opposed. They note that U.S. regulators have deemed gene-altered
> food safe, and they warn that labels could cost consumers
> millions of dollars.
>    Most important, they say, mandatory labels would wrongly
> imply that safety or nutritional value has been compromised in
> these foods, undermining confidence in the high-tech varieties
> that producers claim will ultimately help feed the world's
> growing population.
>    "The concern," said Carl Feldbaum, president of the
> Biotechnology Industry Organization, "is that a label would be
> seen as a stigma, like a skull and crossbones."
>    The industry is also wary of labels saying "free of
> genetically engineered ingredients," because such labels might
> imply superiority, as in "fat free." The Grocery Manufacturers
> of America recently announced that it and other groups would
> initiate a $1 million advertising and educational campaign to
> counter the nascent U.S. anti-biotech and pro-labeling
> movements.    The industry's position raises the difficult
> question of whether there are appropriate limits to the amount
> of information that should be made available to consumers and,
> if so, who should decide them. The FDA and the food industry say
> labels should be reserved for relevant, "science-based"
> information. But a number of consumers say science should not be
> the sole criterion.    Biotech labeling is not unprecedented in
> this country. In 1993, Ben & Jerry's triggered a three-year
> legal battle by labeling its products as containing milk only
> from cows raised free of a genetically engineered hormone that
> boosts milk production.
>    "People can say 'dolphin-free tuna' and 'stone-ground wheat,'
> " said Liz Bankowski, a senior director for the company in South
> Burlington, Vt. "We felt strongly that people have the right to
> know how their milk is produced."    After tangling with federal
> and state regulators over the issue, Ben & Jerry's won the right
> to keep the label as long as it is accompanied by a disclaimer
> saying the FDA considers the milk equivalent to conventional
> milk, and that in any case there is no known way of testing milk
> to confirm whether it is really free of the hormone.
> That problem of being able to back up a claim that a food either
> contains or does not contain genetically engineered ingredients
> has plagued regulators in the European Union, where the law says
> all gene-modified foods must be labeled.    The law did not
> specify how much gene-altered material must be present to
> trigger a label. Now, EU ministers are having to negotiate
> whether a food can avoid the label if it has less than, say, 1
> percent engineered ingredients. They must also decide whether "1
> percent" means 1 percent of the whole product or 1 percent of
> the ingredient in question.
>    Too much 'food anxiety' already?
>    What do consumers really want? Consumer groups cite studies
> indicating that 80 percent to 90 percent of Americans think
> gene-altered food ought to be marked, and 50 percent to 60
> percent say they would choose nonengineered food if they could.
>    But other studies have found that those numbers drop
> precipitously when people are given additional information, such
> as that the FDA has deemed the food safe and nutritious.
> "In focus groups, consumers say, 'Tell us if there is something
> meaningful or different or good or bad,' " said Tom Hoban, a
> professor of sociology at North Carolina State University in
> Raleigh, who has done research on biotech labels. "Consumers are
> saying, 'I have enough food anxiety, and, phew, I don't want to
> worry about something else unless I have to.' "
>    Consumers also have balked when told labeling may
> significantly increase the cost of the food. Grocery groups have
> not made specific cost estimates but argue that labeling would
> entail creating expensive separate transportation and processing
> streams for engineered and nonengineered foods.    Yet quietly,
> some of America's largest agricultural corporations have begun
> to do just that. In June, Archer Daniels Midland Co., the giant
> commodities processor , said it would separate U.S.-grown
> nonengineered crops for export to European countries.
>    And as confident as American companies say they are about the
> safety of gene-altered food, fear of public rejection has them
> on the defensive. Last month, when  Greenpeace  announced that
> one kind of Gerber baby food contained gene-altered ingredients,
> the company quickly announced it would find a supplier that
> could guarantee nonengineered ingredients.
> Read previous coverage on this issue on
> GRAPHIC: Most manufacturers say labeling gene-altered foods --
> such as this tofu made with engineered soybeans -- would wrongly
> imply they aren't safe. 
> ======#======
4) Campaigners, stores welcome ADM call on gene crops  Adds news on Spanish 
imports in paragraphs 13 and 14 and French call for segregation in  paragraph
11 and 12 By Christopher Lyddon LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters)  -
>  European campaigners said they were one step closer to victory on
> Thursday
>  after reports U.S. grain giant Archer Daniels Midland Co <ADM.N>
> called on
> growers to segregate genetically modified and conventional crops. The
> move
>  was welcomed by the British Retail Consortium, the trade association
> which
> represents all shops, including the big supermarkets. It is a  shame
> they
>  couldn't do this two years ago when BRC first suggested it to them,"
> a
>  spokesman said. "We are pleased to hear that ADM have made the call
> for
> segregation.
> It will help British food retailers in their efforts to source
> non-GM ingredients."
>     "It's great news," said a spokeswoman for environmental
> group Greenpeace, long-time opponents of genetic modification.
>     "It's excellent that they're doing this finally after having
> said for years that it was impossible to segregate," she said.
>     Greenpeace had expected an eventual change in attitude, she
> said, because of the opposition in Europe's big food market.
> "The next step we expect is for them to stop growing GM crops
> altogether, because it's more trouble than it's worth."
> Greenpeace has taken a strong stance against genetically
> modified foods. In Britain it has attacked a programme of trials
> of GM crops as irresponsible and urged the government to pull
> out.  Environmental activists have repeatedly attacked and
> destroyed fields of GM test crops in Britain.     British
> retailers have also backed away from GM products. Marks &
> Spencer <MKS.L> said in August it would start offering meat from
> animals which had not been fed genetically modified soya and
> maize and announced in July that its entire processed food range
> was made without GM soya or maize.     Britain's biggest
> supermarket chain Tesco <TSCO.L> has said it will remove GM
> ingredients from food products wherever possible. Frozen foods
> group Iceland <ICE.L> has refused to stock GM foods.
>     Safeway <SFW.L> is systematically removing all GM
> ingredients from own-brand products. "Safeway's position on GM
> soya and maize is that they fail to offer any tangible
> benefits," it said in July.
>     Calls for GM soya to be segregated have not been confined to
> Britain. On Thursday, seperate from the ADM move, French animal
> feed cooperative trade group Syncopac on Thursday urged the
> United States to start segregating soy.     "We are asking the
> European Union to demand that the United States separate GM soy
> from non-GM soy," Syncopac President Daniel Rabiller told a news
> conference.
>     Concern over genetic modification had halted U.S. sales of
> reduced levy maize to Spain, under a long standing EU trade
> concession. After news of the ADM move was known, Spanish
> traders said shipments could restart.    "If they really
> segregate crops, the U.S. will return as a supplier of corn to
> Iberia," one senior trader said.
>     Illinois-based ADM could not immediately be reached by
> Reuters for comment.     U.S. exporters and policians have long
> insisted that segregating genetically modified and conventional
> soya and maize was impractical. European food processors and
> retailers who called for a segregated supply stream were accused
> of failing to understand commodity trading.
>     But agribusiness giant Cargill Inc said in April it was
> following a plan agreed by the U.S. corn industry to segregate
> GM corn at elevators and processing plants to prevent exports of
> GM corn or products to Europe from seeds not yet approved by the
> European Union.
>     Archer Daniels Midland Co <ADM.N> and A.E. Staley & Co., a
> unit of British food group Tate and Lyle Plc <TATE.L>, said in
> April they would avoid buying corn for processing derived from
> GM seeds awaiting approval in the EU.     And U.S. Agriculture
> Secretary Dan Glickman warned in July that consumers could not
> be taken for granted and advised producers against an 'if you
> grow it, they will come' mentality.
>     A spokesman for Monsanto <MTC.N>, a leader in the GM sector
> with its Roundup Ready soya, said he had no direct comment.
>     "We're at the bottom of the supply chain. We supply the
> technology," he said. But he noted that by accepting Monsanto's
> GM soya as "substantially equivalent," to conventional soya,
> regulators in Europe and the U.S. had accepted there was no need
> for segregation.
> ======#======
5)  The Toronto Star September 2, 1999 - GROCERY STORES TARGETED IN
The battle against genetically modified foods will be
> fought at grocery stores, a group of activists meeting in Ottawa has
> decided. ''Everyone agreed that this will be won in the marketplace,''
> said
> Jennifer Story, health protection  campaigner for the Council of
> Canadians.
> ''We're all going to do our best to organize our contacts, whether
> it's our
> allies or our members or our friends, to affect the presence of
> genetically
> engineered ingredients in the food supply.'' About 60 per cent of the
> food
> on Canadian grocery shelves has been altered to fight pests or resist
> herbicides, according to industry estimates.     Story said consumers
> will
> be targeted by several publicity campaigns this fall to make them
> aware of
> genetically  altered crops.
>     ''The public can expect to see a rapid rise in information
> provided to them on the issues, and what they can do about it,''
> said Story, whose group hosted the meeting.
>     She said consumers will be encouraged to tell their local
> grocers they want food free of  genetically  modified crops,
> while the groups at yesterday's meeting agreed to lobby food
> companies to drop such crops from their products.     The one-
> day meeting was the first ever of 23 groups from across Canada
> to begin work on a joint plan of attack. Groups at the meeting
> included Oxfam, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club of Canada, the
> Canadian Health Coalition, the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, and
> the National Farmers Union.
> The activists agreed to continue sharing information and lending
> support to each other, but have not yet set up a single co-
> ordinated campaign. For now, they will continue their own
> campaigns and slowly begin working together more.     Story said
> it is important to get farmers onside, saying she does not want
> to turn consumers against the people who grow the food. The
> groups agreed to help farmers find markets for crops free of
> genetic  modification.     ''We will only be successful if fewer
> genetically  modified crops are planted.''
>     But Jim Fischer, a dairy farmer who grows  genetically
> altered corn on his Walkerton-area farm, said cash-strapped
> farmers need every advantage they can get to make ends meet.
>     As long as U.S. farmers are using  genetically  altered
> crops, Canadian farmers will have to do the same to compete, he
> said.
>     Fischer, head of a farmers' group called AGCare that is
> promoting the use of  genetically  altered crops, said
> environmentalists  should like the fact that he is using fewer
> pesticides  on his fields.
> The corn he grows now includes a gene to kill worms.
>     ''The plant can protect itself,'' Fischer said.
>     He said there are even greater advantages coming down the
> road, such as crops that have been  genetically  altered to
> include proteins and vaccines or the ability to grow in tough
> conditions such as salty soil or areas prone to drought.
>      Genetically  altered crops are expected to be a big issue
> at World Trade Organization talks to be held during the first
> week of December in Seattle.
> ======#======

6) Canadian groups join in anti-GM food fight By Irene Marushko
WINNIPEG,  Sept 2 (Reuters) - Several Canadian environmental and public
 interest  groups said on Thursday they would join forces to educate 
> about
>  genetically modified (GM) foods and possibly push to have  them
> removed
>  from store shelves. We arrived at agreement around the  table that we
>  wanted to work together, that public education was necessary,  and to
> look
>  at the regulatory framework in Canada," said Jean Christie of  Rural
>  Advancement Foundation International. The group, which monitors
>  Canada's international policy negotiations on
> biodiversity, joined environmental groups like the Sierra Club
> and Greenpeace and the Council of Canadians, an independent
> citizens' group, to act together on the issue.
>     The groups at the least advocate labeling of GM food
> products made from crops that have been genetically modified to
> resist pests or herbicides.     At the most, they want sales of
> the products stopped.     "There's just not enough information,"
> Christie told Reuters from Ottawa.     She said more research
> must be done to ensure that GM foods are safe to human health.
> The foods came into wide use in North America three years ago.
>    Awareness of GM foods has been slow to grow in Canada and the
> United States, in sharp contrast to Europe where protests have
> been so strong that many retailers have refused to sell GM
> products.
>     European buyers have rejected Canadian canola, a major
> oilseed crop which is mostly genetically modified.
>     Canadian farmers also grow GM soybeans and corn, but the
> province of Ontario recently said it would begin segregating GM
> corn from regular corn to meet the demands of buyers who are
> responding to public concerns.
>     "It happened surreptitiously in Canada," Christie said. "We
> never had a debate about whether people wanted to eat
> genetically modified food."     The agricultural industry in
> North America has defended GM products, saying they are no
> different from regular food.
>     But several large agribusiness companies have started to ask
> grain suppliers to segregate the crops to meet customer demands.
>     European protests have centered on concerns about the health
> and environmental effects of GM crops and foods, and consumer
> groups, food makers and supermarkets have increasingly demanded
> segregation and labeling of GM food products.
>     Christie estimated that 84 million acres worldwide have been
> planted to GM crops. This area is forecast to increase to 140
> million acres next year.     "They (GM crops) are in two-thirds
> of the processed food that's sold in Canada," she said.
>     U.S. agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. <ADM.N>
> recently warned its grain suppliers to begin segregating
> genetically modified corn, soybeans and other crops from
> conventional crops.
> ======#======

7)   Brazil farmers tap black market for GM soy - group By Phil Stewart SAO 
PAULO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Brazil's farmers are skirting a ban on
>  genetically-modified (GM) crops and turning to the black market for
> illegal
> soybean seeds smuggled in from neighboring Argentina, a top industry
> group
>  said on Thursday. The Brazilian Association of Seed Producers
> (Abrasem)
>  said demand is so great for the contraband soybeans that the illegal
>  varieties might account for up to 10 percent of Brazil's upcoming
> crop, the
>  world's second largest. The U.S. ranks number one. Obviously,
> smuggling of
> transgenic soybeans exists. What is alarming is how rapidly the area
> is
>  increasing," said Joao Henrique Hummel, the director of Abrasem.
>     Hummel estimated that all of the smuggled soy goes by the
> brand name "Roundup Ready," a variety engineered by U.S.
> biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. <MTC.N> to save farmers money
> on herbicides. It is already legal in Argentina, and covered
> half of last year's crop there.
>     But Roundup Ready has faced an uphill battle in Brazil to
> make its way off test-plots and onto farmland.
>     Earlier this year, Monsanto appeared to have broken Brazil's
> ban on genetically modified crops by winning safety approval for
> the altered soybeans.     But the action opened a floodgate of
> controversy in Latin America's agricultural giant, which also
> grows more coffee, sugar and oranges than anywhere else on the
> planet.
>     Environmental group Greenpeace successfully argued in court
> last month that the government's safety approval was based
> largely on research conducted in the U.S., instead of Brazil,
> home to the world's largest rainforest.     Monsanto must now
> conduct a new, one-year study closely examining the effects
> these new genes could have Brazil's fragile environment,
> apparently shelving the company's plans to sell Roundup Ready in
> Brazil this year.     Some farmers have sided with Greenpeace.
> Planting genetically-altered crops, they say, could cost them
> sales to their key European market, where consumers have
> demanded that so-called "Frankenstein foods" be wiped off
> supermarket shelves.
>     But as the proliferation of illegal soybeans suggests, not
> all farmers are convinced that shunning the advances of science
> is a wise business move.     Hummel said the sheer savings
> generated from Roundup Ready has made it a necessity for farmers
> competing in a world market offering the lowest soybean prices
> in recent history.
>     "We are not opposed to transgenic soybeans. In fact we are
> in favor... Why do you think the farmers are planting more? It's
> because they work," Hummel said.
>     Hummel said that almost all of the contraband soybeans would
> be planted in Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil's third largest
> grower which borders Argentina. The seeds could cover about 30
> percent of the area dedicated to soybeans, he said.
>     Rio Grande do Sul's left-wing government, which is trying to
> ban genetically-modified crops, has denied the wide-spread
> proliferation the contraband seeds.
>     Officials linked to the state's agriculture department said
> no studies existed quantifying the degree of smuggling of
> transgenic soybeans.
> ======#======
8)   The Toronto Star September  2, 1999, PLAYING GOD WITH NATURE IS MONSTROUS
BODY: I was more  than a little shocked to read in the ''Frankenstein  foods''
> in
>  the Context section (Food fight, Aug. 22, by Thomas  Walkom) that the
>  Canadian government is blindly allowing these foods to mix  in with
> the
>  normal foods in the supermarkets and grocery stores. This makes  me
> very,
>  very angry, and rightly so. Do we have to wait years before we
> realize  the
>  damage these  genetically modified foods can do to our immune system?
> What
> about those with  environmental  allergies or those with
> weakened immune systems or people severely allergic to nuts,
> fish, etc.?
> I have a son who is severely allergic to nuts. What will this do
> to him? Will the government put out a booklet identifying all
> these foods so consumers can be better informed? How do I, as a
> mother, protect my children? To make it even worse, these
> foods will not be labelled in the supermarkets and grocery
> stores. Pray tell, how are we, the consumers, supposed to know
> the difference?
>     I object strongly to this going on under our very noses with
> the blessing of the Canadian government. At least with
> labelling, we have a choice, but under the current conditions,
> the unsuspecting consumer has no idea of the poisons he/she
> unwittingly may be eating. Even if we purchase  organically
> grown foods, 5 per cent of these will be  genetically  modified
> as compared to approximately 60 per cent of our regular foods.
> I find this totally unacceptable and immoral.     Who are we to
> play God with nature? I do not like the idea of ''fish genes''
> in my strawberries, or whatever else may be done to my potatoes
> and corn.     The European countries have taken a stand. Why
> can't Canada and the U.S.? Must we bow down to the
> multinationals, the corporations who fund this monstrous
> research? I hope not.
> I pray something is done before it is too late. At the very
> least, these so-called Frankenstein foods should be labelled. I
> don't like the idea of governments, scientists and farmers
> playing Russian roulette with our lives.     Barb McBurnie
> ======#======
9) US corn sales to Iberia could resume if GMOs segregated By David Brough
LISBON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - A reported call by U.S. grain giant Archer
> Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) for growers to segregate genetically
> modified
> (GM) from conventional crops could lead to a resumption of sales of
> U.S.
> cut-levy maize to Iberia, Spanish traders said. The U.S. has made no
> sales
> of reduced-levy corn to Spain and Portugal for many months because of
> concerns among importers that shipments may include GM varieties not
> yet
> approved by the European Union (EU).      The Wall Street Journal
> reported
> in Thursday's online edition that ADM was faxing statements on crop
> segregation to grain elevators throughout the U.S. Midwest in what the
> Journal called a sign that concern in Europe and Asia about GM crops
> was
> affecting American exporters.
>      Spanish grain traders said ADM's reported stand could
> encourage similar action by other leading U.S. agribusinesses.
>      "If they (U.S.) really segregate crops, the U.S. will
> return as a supplier of corn to Iberia," one senior trader said.
>      European consumer resistance to GM foods has blocked U.S.
> exports of many crops and threatened to spark a major trade
> dispute between the U.S. and the EU, following high-profile rows
> over bananas and beef.
>      In June, environment ministers from the 15 EU states agreed
> a de facto moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
> until new rules on authorising them had been approved, which
> could be as late as 2002.      Traders said that although
> harvesting was under way in the United States, there could still
> be time this year for U.S. suppliers to sell conventional maize
> to Iberia.
>      "It is better to start segregating during seeding than
> harvesting," one trader said.
>      Traders said the volume of U.S. maize sales to Spain and
> Portugal, both net importers of cereals, would depend on
> relative prices of U.S. corn against competing origins. U.S.
> corn is highly competitive, but segregation will raise costs.
>      Argentina and to a lesser extent eastern European countries
> have been the main beneficiaries of sales of reduced-levy maize
> to Iberia since the U.S. shipments dried up, traders said.
>      Spain and Portugal benefit from a trade accord between the
> U.S. and the EU committing the bloc to importing up to two
> million tonnes of maize a year for Spain and 500,000 tonnes for
> Portugal at a reduced levy.
>      The agreement compensated the United States for loss of
> market share when Spain and Portugal joined the EU in 1986.
> ======#======
10)  Texas A&M researchers clone steer  COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Sept. 2
(UPI) >
Texas A&M University  researchers have cloned a calf from a 21-year-old
>  Brahman steer. Researchers Jonathan Hill and Mark Westhusin told a
> news
>  conference  today the research could have enormous implications in
> the beef
> cattle  industry and in the future applications of cloning technology.
> In
>  a  year-long project, they cloned a steer named Chance, whose owners
> in
>  Lagrange, Texas, wanted the animal's genes preserved because of his
> gentle
>  nature. "Chance" died three months ago from natural causes. Hill and
> Westhusin said the calf, called Second Chance, was born three  weeks
> ago
>  and displays identical markings as his father and has  identical
> DNA.    Hill said Chance was unable to reproduce naturally
> because of the  removal of both diseased testicles two years
> ago. Therefore, he said,  cloning Chance was the only option for
> preserving his genetics.
>    "Second Chance is obviously an intact male and should be able
> to sire offspring when he reaches puberty," he said.
>    Hill said there is considerable interest in keeping track of
> Second  Chance throughout his lifetime because of the age of the
> cells used to  clone him.    Last spring, scientists revealed
> that the DNA of Dolly, the first  cloned sheep, had some
> characteristics of the older cells used to  generate her.
> Hill said researchers should know "in a month or so" if the
> cells are  like those of the 21-year-old steer or a younger
> animal.
>    Hill said it took 189 attempts that is, transferring 189
> cells into 189 different eggs, before a pregnancy ended in the
> delivery of Second  Chance.    The successful cloning effort
> could dramatically impact the beef cattle industry in Texas and
> throughout the world, they said.
>    "This could lead to new opportunities in cattle breeding, and
> for that matter, other animals," Hill believes.
>    Dr. George E. Seidel, a professor of physiology at Colorado
> State University, said the cloning of the steer at Texas A&M is
> not a  breakthrough because adult bulls have been cloned before,
> but the  research is important.    Hill and Westhusin are also
> involved in the Missyplicity Project at  Texas A&M, the first-
> ever attempt to clone a dog. The anonymous  sponsors have
> invested $2.3 million to produce a clone of their pet  dog,
> Missy, a mixed breed border collie.
>    A team of about 20 researchers is working on the Missyplicity
> Project,  and Texas A&M says some of the knowledge gained by
> Second Chance is  helping to advance that research. ---
>    Copyright 1999 by United Press International.
>    All rights reserved. 
> ======#======
11)Australian Study: Many Doubt Claimed Benefits Of GMO Food
>  CANBERRA (Dow Jones)--Almost half of Australia's consumers are
> skeptical of
> the claimed benefits of genetically modified food and won't eat them,
>  according to research conducted mid-August by a local unit of market
>  research concern ACNeilsen Corp. and issued Thursday. But the survey
> of
>  1,000 consumers found almost a third of consumers who are aware of
>  genetically modified foods believe in the claimed benefits and likely
> will
> eat them. The research also found Australian consumers overwhelmingly
> demand
> proper labeling of all genetically modified foods, an
> issue which Australian and New Zealand health ministers are
> considering.
>   Actual percentages weren't given from the study, which was
> commissioned for ACNeilsen's use.
>   "These Australian findings reveal GM foods is quite a
> controversial issue, in line with the current debate going on in
> Europe and Japan, where consumer opposition to GM foods has been
> growing," Charlie Nelson, an executive director at ACNeilsen
> Australia said in a statement.
>   He said the research suggested consumers are strongly divided
> in their attitude to genetically modified foods, which are
> appearing in increasing numbers in Australia.
>   The research showed consumers mostly are aware of genetically
> modified foods, with 90% expecting these will be correctly
> labeled.
>   "Only 10% of the aware believe consumers generally have been
> well informed on the pros and cons of GM foods," the statement
> said.
>   That finding reinforces an assertion by Annabelle Duncan,
> chief of molecular science at the government's Commonwealth,
> Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
>   Duncan said Thursday many people believe decisions about
> genetically modified foods are being made too quickly and
> without enough public discussion.   "There is a need for
> widespread, informed debate on the issue and for consideration,
> not just of the scientific issues, but also the cultural, moral
> and ethical issues relating to gene technology," Duncan told a
> science briefing in parliament house here Thursday.
>   People's concerns are diverse, she said, and touch on
> corporate hegemony over the technology, and the public cynicism
> that engenders, and concerns about the escape or spread of genes
> into the wild.
>   -By Ray Brindal; 612-6208-0902;
>  (END) DOW JONES NEWS  09-02-99
>   02:44 AM
> Copyright 1999 Dow Jones & Co., Inc.  
> ======#======

12)  BusinessWorld September  2, 1999 - GM corn  firms liable for mishandled
tests BYLINE:  Earl Warren B. Castillo
>  Multinational agribusiness firms which  have been allowed to do field
> tests
>  on  genetically  modified corn will  face both civil and criminal
> sanctions
> in the event of  environmental  disasters caused by their experiments.
> In
>  a news conference yesterday, a  member of the National Committee on
>  Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) said farmers can sue these
> companies if
>  they find the latter's experiments damaging to their farmlands. The
>  is
>  a multi-sectoral and interagency committee tasked with evaluating the
>  applications of companies to conduct experiments involving
> genetically
> modified organisms.
>  NCBP member and legal adviser Jose Maria A. Ochave said
> affected farmers can seek damages under the Civil Code.
>    "What recourse do those affected have in case of damages
> suffered by them? We will have to rely on existing laws (like)
> the Civil Code's provisions on damages," Mr. Ochave said.
>    "If the one party did something that caused damage to another
> party and this can be quantified, then the aggrieved party have
> a right to sue for damages and they will get the necessary
> compensation," he said.
>    He said the agribusiness companies can also be liable for
> criminal sanctions under the Revised Penal Code.
>    "In the absence of any legislative authority on the part of
> the NCBP, you will have to go through the Revised Penal Code.
> Affected parties can file charges of reckless imprudence or
> negligence," Mr. Ochave said.    Mr. Ochave was reacting to a
> question on the penalties agribusiness will be facing in case of
> environmental  problems which may occur in the course of their
> experiments.
>    The NCBP last week approved the separate requests of Agroseed
> Corp. and Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines, Inc. to conduct field
> experiments on the cultivation of Bt corn.
>    Bt corn contains a gene from soil-based microorganism
> Bacillus thuringiensis which is harmful to certain pests. The
> gene allows Bt corn to release its own  pesticide  when attacked
> by corn borers.
>    Local nongovernment organizations (NGOs) have argued that the
> cultivation of Bt corn in fields might allow the variety to
> breed with  organic  corn. Such contamination, they said, may
> facilitate the growth of Bt corn in farmlands planted only to
> organically  grown corn.
>    The NGOs also claim Bt corn may be harmful for human
> consumption since humans will effectively be ingesting the
> crop's toxin.
> Another NCBP member, insect toxicologist Dr. Flerida A. Carino,
> said Bt corn is safe for human consumption since its toxin is
> harmful only to insects such as the corn borer, butterflies and
> some of the latter's relatives.    She said the toxin is only
> effective in an alkaline environment such as the intestines of
> the said insects. Humans, on the other hand, are not affected by
> the toxin because of the acidic nature of the human gut which
> will break down the toxin.
>    Biophysicist and NCBP member Emerenciana B. Duran said Bt
> corn is now being commercially produced and consumed in several
> countries but these nations have yet to report any harmful
> effect of Bt corn on humans.
>    Mr. Ochave said the NCBP did not include a rule on such
> sanctions in the project proposals of Agroseed and Pioneer since
> these are already part of existing laws.
>    "The law is there - the law presumes that you know the law.
> So in case that (  environmental  damage) happens, you can file
> a suit against them," he said.    Mr. Ochave also assured that
> both Agroseed and Pioneer have already committed to "answer for
> damages without need of any civil action." Meanwhile, Ms. Carino
> said they have required both companies to institute
> precautionary measures that are more than sufficient to prevent
> an  environmental  problem such as  genetic  contamination.
>    She said such measures include the removal of the plants'
> pollen-producing flowers, the selection of an isolated
> experiment site, the establishment of a domelike plastic cover
> over the experiment area and an early or delayed planting
> schedule.
>    "The required precautions are actually bordering on overkill
> already. Even if you forget to detassle (remove pollen-producing
> flowers) one or three crops, you have a plastic barrier that is
> about 10 feet high. Corn pollen doesn't travel upward. Assuming
> we have a draft, we have a 500-meter isolation distance - if the
> pollen goes out, what will it pollinate? Nothing," Ms. Carino
> said.
> ======#======

13)  Japan Corn-Europe may benefit from GM label plan By Aya Takada TOKYO,
Sept  2 (Reuters) - Japan's corn imports from Europe may increase  next
> year as
>  Japanese food processors, facing government requirements to  label
>  genetically modified (GM) food from April 2001, see European corn as
> a
>  generally GM-free alternative to U.S. corn, traders said on Thursday.
> But
>  even if Japan buys more corn from Europe, the United States will
> retain  a
>  dominant position in Japan's 16 million tonne a year corn market, as
> there
> are no other comparable suppliers in terms of quality, quantity and
>  stability, they said.  As its self-sufficiency rate for corn is
> almost
> zero, Japan
> has no choice but to cover its needs with foreign corn. Japan is
> the world's biggest corn importer and has been heavily dependent
> on imports from the United States, the largest corn producer.
>  In their search for non-GM corn, some food companies may
> shift part of their corn needs to Europe. But such demand will
> be very limited," said a trader at a major Japanese trade house.
>      "Japanese will stay dependent on U.S. supplies as there are
> no other reliable suppliers. The problem is users have begun
> asking for segregation of non-GM and GM corn, which will disturb
> the normal flow in the U.S. distribution system," he said.
>      Another Japanese trade house, which plans to supply non-GM
> corn to a Japanese beer company, said it is contacting U.S.
> farmers for contract production of non-GM corn next year. But
> the company is also considering buying corn from France or other
> European countries as a possible option.      "For stable
> supplies (of non-GM corn to Japan), we will have to organise a
> new system in the United States. But we must think about back-up
> suppliers, and Europe is a likely option as crops there are
> generally GM-free," an official at the trade house said.
>      "But given their current export capacity, it is risky to
> rely much on European countries," he added.
>      Out of Japan's 15.7 million tonnes in corn imports last
> year, the United States accounted for 13.8 million tonnes or 88
> percent. Imports from European countries accounted for only 0.3
> million tonnes or 1.9 percent.      Argentina was the second-
> biggest corn supplier to Japan in 1998 with an 8.5 percent
> share, while China was third with a 1.3 percent share.      Of
> total Japanese corn imports, corn for feed accounted for about
> 65 percent while the rest is for food. Feed is exempted from the
> government's GMO labelling requirement.
>      Traders said chances are slim that Japanese demand will
> shift to corn produced in Argentina and China, as GM corn is now
> widely grown in Argentina and the quality of Chinese corn, which
> is used for feed in Japan, falls short of food processors'
> requirements.
>      The Japanese food industry is getting serious about how to
> secure non-GM corn after a surprise announcement last week by
> Japanese beer makers they would halt the use of GM corn by 2001.
>      Although beer is exempt from the labelling requirements,
> Kirin Brewery Co Ltd and Sapporo Breweries Ltd said they plan to
> switch to non-GM corn as they cannot ignore consumer doubts
> about the safety of genetically altered food.      Japan's two
> other major beer makers, Asahi Breweries Ltd and Suntory Ltd,
> are thinking of following suit.
>      The beer industry uses about 60 percent of Japan's annual
> corn grits output and seven percent of its corn starch. About
> 250,000 tonnes a year of corn are used to make grits in Japan
> and about 3.8 million tonnes to make starch.      "The beer
> industry is the biggest user of corn grits. If it shifts to non-
> GM corn, other grits users will probably follow suit," said an
> official at the Japan Corn Grits Association.
>      The Japan Starch and Sweeteners Industry Association said
> it holds similar concerns, although it is unlikely the starch
> industry as a whole will switch to non-GM corn.
>      Japan has approved 22 varieties of six GM crops -- corn,
> soybeans, rapeseed, potatoes, cotton and tomatoes -- for import
> and sale under its safety guidelines. But the government will
> impose labelling requirements on these crops and on food
> products that use them, in order to allow consumers to make an
> informed choice.
>      Food products in which DNA or protein resulting from gene
> alteration cannot be detected using current technologies, such
> as vegetable oil, are exempt from the labelling requirements.
> =====#======
14)  Most S.Koreans say GM foods should be labelled By Cho Mee-young SEOUL, 
Sept 2 (Reuters) - South Korea's state-run Korea Consumer Protection
> Board
>  (KCPB) said on Thursday that 94.7 percent of people surveyed about
>  genetically modified food said they thought labels were necessary at
> least
>  some of the time. Among the total 526 survey respondents, 71.5
> percent of
>  people have replied GM food labelling was necessary all the time
> while 23.2
>  percent replied it was necessary in some cases," the board said  in a
>  statement. The statement said 4.6 percent said they didn't know  and
>  the remaining 0.7 percent said labels were not needed.      The board
> said
>  the survey published for the first time on
> Thursday consisted of men and women over 20 years-old in Seoul
> and was carried out last March.
>      The survey showed 82.5 percent of the respondents said
> "genetically modified agriculture" or "manufactured products
> with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)" should be displayed
> with labels either through letters or pictures.
>   Labels should include possible side effects, a phrase stating
> the safety of such foods had not been determined, identification
> of toxic or allergy-causing GMOs and the names of GMOs contained
> in the foods.
>      "But only 28.3 percent of the total survey respondents said
> GM foods were harmful to consumers' health while 13.9 percent
> said GM foods were safe," the statement said.
>      It said 57.6 percent of the total respondents said they had
> no idea whether GM foods were safe or not.
>      Among the respondents, 10.6 percent said they would eat GM
> foods and 56.7 percent said they might, but 21.9 percent said
> they would not eat GM food due to health concerns.
>      The survey found that 26.6 percent of respondents thought
> GM foods were more nutritious than their usual foods, 25.3
> percent thought there was no difference, while 15.8 percent
> thought GM food was less nutritious.      Since most local
> customers had no confidence in GM foods, the KCPB said the
> government should develop a public information programme and
> contingency plan if safety issues arise.
>      The board said the government should decide soon which
> products should carry labels.
>      The country's parliament enacted a law for labelling GMOs
> on July 1, responding to public concerns over possible health
> and environmental hazards, but the government has not decided
> which products should be labelled.      KCPB's statement said
> over 625,000 tonnes of soybeans with GMOs and over 1.5 million
> tonnes of corn with GMOs were expected to be imported into Korea
> in 1999.
>      The spread of a now-global battle over the use of GMOs to
> Asia, the biggest market in the world food chain, has been
> triggered by Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand all
> deciding to enact laws requiring labelling of transgenic foods.
>      While GM crop proponents say they improve yields, reduce
> susceptibility to disease and insects, and can add nutritional
> value, opponents worry they can harm the environment, affect the
> resistance of nearby crops and and can harbour unknown risks to
> health.
>      The United States alone exports more than $15 billion a
> year worth of unprocessed agricultural products to Asia -- and
> much more in processed food and beverage products.
>      Meanwhile, two South Korean seed firms said last Monday
> that with the help of government subsidies they planned to
> develop GM seeds to compete with other nations.
> ======#======
15) The Independent (London) September  2, 1999,  - MICE MADE SMARTER WITH GM
BRAINS BYLINE: Steve Connor Science  Editor  
BODY: SCIENTISTS HAVE  genetically  engineered a breed of
> "smart
>  mice", which raises the possibility of  boosting the intelligence of
> humans
>  with drugs or gene enhancement. The  research shows it is  feasible
> to
>  improve mental ability by tinkering with  the genes involved  with
>  producing or interacting with the key neuro-transmitters of the brain
> - a
>  step towards designer babies. The study also paves the way to
> designing
>  drugs that could improve learning and boost memory in people
> suffering from
>  age-related disorders such as Alzheimer's
> and Parkinson's disease.
>     A team of scientists  genetically  engineered the genes of
> the mice to boost levels of a brain protein that acts as a
> receptor for a key neurotransmitter, called NMDA, which is known
> to be involved with memory and learning.     The  genetically
> engineered mice performed significantly better than ordinary
> mice in a range of tests such as learning how to escape from a
> maze or how to locate a sunken platform in a water tank.
>     "This points to the possibility that enhancement of learning
> and memory or even IQ is feasible through  genetic  means,
> through  genetic  engineering," said Joe Tsien, assistant
> professor of molecular biology at Princeton University, who led
> the research team.
>     Professor Tsien nicknamed the smart mice Doogie, after the
> teenage genius in the American television show Doogie Howser,
> M.D.
>     Research published in the journal Nature showed that the
> enhanced learning and memory abilities of the smart mice were
> the result of an over-expression of a particular protein sub-
> unit of the NMDA receptors in the brain. Now that the precise
> role of this brain protein is known, drug companies can develop
> ways of interacting with it to reproduce the effect of enhancing
> cognitive ability, said Tim Bliss, head of neurophysiology at
> the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill in
> London.
>     "We know that the same gene and protein are present in
> humans and it is likely that the same neural mechanisms are used
> in mice and men. So the research is likely to be useful in the
> design of drugs for memory disorders," Dr Bliss said.
>     "It would be a way of alleviating the problems of memory in
> an ageing population. We know that these animals are in some
> sense smarter and have better memories," he said.
>     A more controversial, and ethically questionable,
> application of the research would be to alter the genes of
> babies to overcome inherited disorders or to improve the chances
> of a better academic performance in later life.     "What we are
> looking at is the baby steps toward a world in which we can
> design our descendants," said Arthur Caplan, director of
> Pennsylvania Health System and a leading bioethicist. "I don't
> think that is necessarily bad. Finding ways to repair autism or
> mental retardation associated with Down's syndrome or Alzhei-
> mer's or other disabling neurological diseases is a very good
> thing," he said.
>     Because of the inherent risks, it makes more sense ethically
> to begin applying this discovery to treating diseases and
> disorders rather than trying to create smarter babies, Dr Caplan
> said.
> GRAPHIC: Joe Tsien, assistant professor of molecular biology at
> Princeton, with a  genetically  engineered 'smart mouse' Jeff
> Zelevansky/AP
> ======#======
16)  The Christian Science Monitor September  2, 1999,  -Building a better
brain? BYLINE:  Alex Salkever, Special to  The Christian Science Monitor
> alter
> mice  genetics  to increase intelligence, raising  BODY: In a
> breakthrough
>  with important implications for science and ethics, a team of
> researchers
>  announced yesterday they have produced more  intelligent mice by
> altering
>  the animals'  genetics. The mice, named after the precocious TV
> doctor
>  Doogie Howser, exhibited superior learning and memory skills after
>  scientists altered a gene for a crucial protein in their brains.
> The research marks the first time that scientists have
> genetically  manipulated mammals to augment basic skills that
> are the building blocks of intelligence. What's more, these
> results were achieved by adding a single gene to the DNA of mice
> embryos. This simplicity implies that big shifts in biology can
> be wrought through relatively small changes in a complex
> organism's  genetics. The research may provide key clues to
> ameliorating disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer's,
> researchers say. But it also represents a new threshold in the
> ethics of  genetics,  as scientists move closer to being able to
> alter core human capabilities.
> "It's unlikely that we can find a gene that we can alter and
> turn the average person into the next Einstein," says Michael
> Shapiro, a law professor and expert in bioethics at the
> University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "But it is, in
> principle, possible to make a statistically significant
> difference in certain abilities in humans."
> Unlocking the key gene
> The gene that makes "Doogie" different is named NR2B. Found in
> mice, monkeys, and humans, as well as in other mammals, NR2B is
> believed to be a key part of memory because it helps the brain
> forge a connection between two distinct neurological stimuli.
> For example, it helps humans associate the sensation of cold and
> the image of an ice cube, scientists say.
> "This receptor is a molecular coincidence detector, an essential
> feature to implement learning and memory in the brain," says Joe
> Tsien, a Princeton University neurologist and the lead
> researcher on the project. In their research, Dr. Tsien and his
> colleagues inserted an extra gene that produces NR2B into the
> DNA of mice embryos. Throughout their test, the Doogie mice
> handily outperformed the unchanged control group, often learning
> a task or making an association between two separate stimuli in
> half the time. They could recognize a Lego block they'd seen
> before, for instance.
> The neurological mechanisms and genes involving NR2B in mice are
> nearly identical to their counterpart genes and mechanisms in
> humans and other mammals, Tsien says. But his research provides
> a small sample of the vast store of  genetic  knowledge that
> will be unlocked in the next few years when scientists complete
> their quest to map the entire human genome.
> Between Doogie mice and gene maps, however, science appears to
> be heading for a clash with some of basic popular American
> beliefs about the human condition. At the heart of the matter
> are questions of who might get to use these new  genetic
> techniques.
> "The American way is that everyone has an equal opportunity to
> go out and exercise their abilities," says Dr. Shapiro. "But if
> scientists can stack the deck in the womb, exercising these
> abilities won't be enough. If there is unequal access to this
> technology, there is a substantial risk of ... making
> irreversible social stratification."
> To some degree, the prospect of  genetic  manipulation might
> undermine universal precepts of human freedom. "When you talk
> about cloning a human for example or altering the intellect of
> a human or adding a gene to an embryo, this violates a very
> basic philosophy about human freedom," says Steven Collins, a
> professor who studies bioethics and innovation at the University
> of Washington at Bothell. "There is a natural tendency among
> Americans to be very cautious about taking that step."
> But discoveries like Tsien's may not necessarily be used for
> such controversial ends. If they led to a drug that could deal
> with diseases associated with the brain, people might be more
> open to such research, says Hank Greely, a law professor at
> Stanford University in California.
> Also, the degree to which gene manipulation will affect the
> basic human traits remains unclear. There are other factors that
> are perhaps of equal or even greater importance than  genetic
> makeup, such as education, nutrition, and environment.
> The importance of  genetics
> Indeed, the media may be focusing too much attention on
> genetics.  "Popular understandings tend to move in overbroad
> swings," says Professor Greely. "Now, we tend to overestimate
> how important genes are. Thirty years ago, we may have
> underestimated how important genes are. But somehow genes seem
> sexier." Furthermore, the intricate interplay of DNA and other
> factors that affect human development may prove difficult to
> unravel. "Humans are complicated and there are few things for
> which we are susceptible to quick fixes," adds Greely. While
> smarter humans through  genetics  might be decades off, everyone
> agrees that the issue needs to be examined thoroughly. But so
> far, consensus seems elusive and much of the general public has
> yet to think deeply about such issues.
> "My experience with students discussing these questions suggests
> that the average citizenry has really not yet begun to digest
> the significance of this research," says Collins. "When they are
> presented with it, they are surprised at how far we have come."
>  c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

> ======#======
17)  The Guardian (London) September  2, 1999 - Mice given extra gene become 
smarter BYLINE: Tim Radford  Science Editor  
BODY: Tim Radford Science  Editor A quick-thinking,  genetically  engineered
mouse, called Doogie,  has led scientists to
> claim
>  that they may one day be able to boost human  intelligence. Joe
> Tsien,  a
>  neurologist at Princeton university, New  Jersey, and collaborators
> at
>  other US universities, report in Nature today that by adding a single
> gene
>  to mice they have significantly boosted the ability of the laboratory
> animals to solve maze tasks, learn from the
> environment and retain the knowledge.
>     They dubbed the mouse Doogie after an American television
> show Doogie Howser MD. The addition of the gene, already known
> to be important in human and other mam-mals' memory
> capabilities, enabled the engineered mice to stay mentally
> young; they retained into adulthood certain brain features of
> juvenile mice. And young mice, like young humans, are better
> than adults at grasping huge amounts of new information. The re
> search is described as a 'breakthrough' and confirms that there
> is a common biochemical piece of machinery at the root of nearly
> all learning. It is likely to trigger debate about how society
> should handle the astonishing new power of  genetic  research.
>     It also follows a warning from another Princeton  geneticist
> last year that human evolution could undergo a new phase in the
> next millennium - prompted by the rich being able to buy extra-
> intelligence genes for their unborn children.     'This not only
> holds the hope of making animals smarter, but also ultimately of
> having human gene therapy for use in areas such as dementia,'
> said Ira Black, head of neuroscience at Rutgers university, New
> Jersey. 'But this is far in the future and it is not something
> we could bring to the bedside tomorrow.' The scientists focused
> on mice because they are like humans. And like all mammals,
> humans and mice have genes in common. Dr Tsien and his
> colleagues selected a gene, named NR2B, long thought to a be a
> key 'switch' in controlling the brain's ability to link one
> event with another - the bottom line of learning. Mice without
> this gene had been shown to have impaired learning; drugs, too,
> can provide the same blocking effect. But to clinch the case,
> researchers needed to show that the gene would enhance learning.
>    The gene is the recipe for a protein, on the surface of nerve
> cells, which serves as a receptor for chemical messages. This
> receptor is called NMDA. Like a double lock, it can only be
> opened with two keys or signals. If two signals arrive at the
> same time - say, the signals from a lighted match and a burned
> finger - the receptor is triggered and a memory is formed.
> In young animals, the receptor responds even if there is a gap
> between the two signals, which could be one explanation as to
> why learning is very fast in the young, but slower after
> adolescence.
>     Dr Tsien gave the mice extra copies of the NR2B gene, and
> then engineered the genes so that their activity increased with
> age. In experiments, mice with the extra gene learned much
> faster than normal mice.
> They tested the little creatures by letting them explore objects
> for just five minutes, and then removing the objects. Days
> later, they replaced one of the objects and reintroduced the
> mice. The Doogie mice would remember the old object and explore
> only the new one. But the normal mice would devote the same
> amount of time to both old and unfamiliar objects.
>     The mice were given electric shocks in a chamber, and the
> transgenic  mice were much more frightened than the others on
> confronting the chamber for the second time.
>     There was a similar response when the mice were taught to be
> afraid of a certain sound. When the associated pain and fear
> were removed, the engineered mice learned not to be frightened
> much more quickly than the others.     Finally, the mice were
> dropped in a tank of water which contained a hidden platform
> that would allow them to get out of the water. The Doogie mice
> learned to escape twice as fast. 'They're learning things much
> better and remembering longer,' said Dr Tsien. 'They're
> smarter.'
>     British neuroscientists yesterday said that the research
> confirmed a theory of the chemistry of memory, but they were
> less enthusiastic about the claim that it could one day boost
> human intelligence.
> 'This is a real piece of vulgar hype from Princeton. I'm rather
> shocked,' said Steven Rose, head of the brain and behaviour
> research group at the Open university. 'The work is interesting.
> It uses novel  genetic  techniques. It doesn't tell us anything
> much that we didn't know before, but it is neatly done.'
>     He added: 'They shouldn't do this stuff, it really is
> irresponsible. Intelligence doesn't reside in a gene, or in a
> cell or even in a brain. Human intelligence is something that
> develops as part of the interaction between children and the
> social and natural world, as they grow up. It is not something
> locked inside a little molecule in the head.'

> ======#======

18)  U.S. farmers face extra work, costs in GM crop battle By Bob Burgdorfer 
CHICAGO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The global battle over genetically modified
>  crops moved closer to U.S. farmers this week when agribusiness giant
> Archer
> Daniels Midland Co. (ADM.N) warned suppliers to keep such crops
> separate
>  from conventional ones. With harvest only days away in the Corn Belt,
>  farmers and grain merchants heeding the warning will be forced to
> absorb
>  additional storage and handling costs, industry sources said.
> "If you
> needed two bins before, now you will need four," said Kevin Aandahl,
>  spokesman for the National Corn Growers
> Association.      Crops genetically altered to resist pests or
> herbicides debuted three years ago in the United States and
> their use has skyrocketed. An estimated 35 percent of this
> year's U.S. corn crop and 55 percent of soybeans -- almost five
> billion bushels in total -- will derive from genetically
> modified (GM) seeds.      But consumer groups in Asia and the
> European Union (EU), both major export markets, have generated
> a tide of protest against the use of GM crops in foods and
> livestock feed.
>      ADM said in a statement this week that some customers are
> basing their purchases on the genetic origin of crops.
>      "We encourage you as our supplier to segregate
> nongenetically enhanced crops to preserve their identity," the
> statement said.
>      ADM is a major buyer of crops, with more than 500 grain
> elevators and 355 crop processing plants worldwide.
>      ADM's request was not unexpected. The American Soybean
> Association advised its members earlier this year to expect
> requests to keep GM and conventional crops separated.
>      "We are anticipating that Japan alone is going to be
> needing 700,000 metric tons of non-GMO beans because they go
> directly into food use," said ASA spokesman Bob Callanan.
>      Callanan said ASA was disappointed ADM's statement failed
> to mention any price incentives for separating crops.
>      An ADM spokeswoman said the market will determine if price
> premiums are to be paid.
>      "We will let the market direct our procurement policy," she
> said.      "From the elevator standpoint this is going to create
> a real challenge," said Lynn Jensen, president-elect of the
> National Corn Growers Association. "Any time you segregate there
> is a cost."
>      Cargill Inc., the nation's largest private company and a
> grain processing and export competitor of ADM's, said it will
> continue taking a different approach than ADM.
>       "We are not asking our customers at this point to do what
> ADM is suggesting in terms of segregating," said Lori Johnson,
> Cargill spokeswoman, of the GM crops.
>      "With the exception that we are asking our customers to let
> us know if they are bringing in the couple of (GM) corn
> varieties that are not yet approved in the EU," she added. "We
> can then divert those into domestic channels."      She said
> Cargill expects the grain industry to become more specialised
> with most farmers eventually producing crops bred specifically
> for niche markets.      Cargill has a joint venture with
> Monsanto Co. (MTC.N), the same company that produced the Roundup
> Ready soybeans, to genetically design crops for specific food
> and feed uses.
> ======#======
19)  EU's Wallstrom backs environmental liability By Michael Mann BRUSSELS,
Sept 2 (Reuters) 
The European Union's future environment commissioner called
> on Thursday for wide-ranging legislation to guarantee that companies
> are
> liable for any environmental damage caused by the products they
> manufacture.
> Sweden's Margot Wallstrom used a confirmation hearing at the European
> Parliament to single out the European chemical industry for particular
> attention during her five-year term of office,  saying legislation to
> prevent chemical pollution was "woefully inadequate."
>  Wallstrom told the assembly's environment committee that the burden
> should
> be on companies to prove that products they introduce are safe, adding
> that
> the bloc needed comprehensive rules on environmental liability. I will
> push
> for comprehensive rules on liability and try to ensure the proposal is
> completed as quickly as possible and applied across the board,"
> Wallstrom
> told the hearing, part of the assembly's vetting of the 19 nominees to
> the
> new European Commission named by incoming President Romano Prodi.
> The
> parliament will vote on September 15 whether to approve or reject
> Prodi's
> team en masse.
>      Wallstrom's remarks signals continuation of a strict
> regulatory line in EU's environmental policy. Outgoing
> Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard was widely criticised
> by industry for her tough stance on environmental questions.
>      Wallstrom told the parliament she would target five areas
> for particular attention; improving citizens' health, protecting
> water quality, cracking down on chemical pollution, combating
> climate change and ensuring that future EU members in eastern
> Europe strive to meet EU environmental standards.
> "Stringent standards are a prerequisite for (EU) enlargement.
> There will be no environmental dumping," she said.
>      Wallstrom pledged to crack down on EU states who failed or
> refused to put EU laws into practice, but stopped short of
> proposing an EU environmental inspectorate in the face of stiff
> opposition from most governments.      She threw her support
> behind long-stalled plans for EU-wide harmonised energy taxes,
> and said she favoured an end to individual countries' right of
> veto over tax proposals.
>      Wallstrom called for a gradual shift from nuclear power
> towards renewable energy sources, saying there was still a lack
> of "suitable mechanisms to deal with nuclear waste in a
> satisfactory way."
>      With a new round of global trade liberalisation talks due
> to kick off in November, Wallstrom said the EU would push its
> trade partners hard for a recognition of environmental factors
> in the eventual deal.      "Trade and the environment are not
> diametrically opposed. The next round should put the two on an
> equal footing and not allow the environment to be subjugated,"
> Wallstrom said.
>      She promised rapid initiatives to improve the bloc's
> regulations on genetically modified organisms, and insisted her
> department would continue to take the lead on the issue, despite
> suggestions it might be passed on to new Health Commissioner
> David Byrne.
>      The United States has warned of trade conflict over
> Europe's unwillingness to approve new GMOs, as public concern
> grows about the safety of food produced with the help of
> biotechnology.
> ======#======

20)  09/02 US Farmers, Processors Resent ADM Policy On GMO Crops By
> Daniel Rosenberg CHICAGO (Dow Jones) U.S. farmers, processors and
>  groups bristled Thursday at a suggestion they do more to segregate
> traditional crops from genetically altered ones. Earlier this week,
> Illinois- based food processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) sent a
> statement to its suppliers encouraging them to separate the two types
> of
> crops. Its customers, ADM said, are beginning to demand corn and
> soybeans
> not manufactured with genetically modified organisms.   "Some of our
> customers are requesting and making their purchases based upon the
> genetic
> origin of the crops used to manufacture their
> products," ADM said. "If we are unable to satisfy their
> requests, they do have alternative sources for their
> ingredients. We encourage you as our supplier to segregate non-
> genetically altered crops to preserve their identity."   But how
> much demand there is for crops grown without GMOs remains
> unclear. And restructuring the elevator and processing industry
> to separate, store, test and ship different varieties of the
> same crop will be expensive. Farmers and small processors fear
> they'll suffer the brunt of the financial blow from this new
> initiative.
>   "We're at dismally low crop prices, and the last thing we need
> is further discounts, especially if they're based on fear, not
> science-based assessments," said Bruce Knight, vice president of
> public policy at the National Corn Growers Association in
> Washington. He was referring to the growing public concern that
> GMO crops, manufactured to be resistant to certain pesticides or
> to become more resistant to pests, could pose a threat to human
> health.
>     Corn Growers Fear Cost Could Fall On Farmers
>   In response to ADM's statement, the NCGA issued a few points
> of its own. The NCGA said:
>   -ADM's revised policy could add to the profitability problems
> farmers have experienced in recent years;
>   -ADM may be overestimating the ability of the U.S. grain
> elevator infrastructure to accommodate this request;
>   -NCGA will do all it can to keep additional storage and
> handling costs that may result from this policy from being borne
> by farmers;
>   -Farmers would welcome ADM's segregation advisory if it means
> ADM is willing to pay a premium to have an assured source of
> conventional corn.   There's no question that following ADM's
> directive will mean higher costs. The question is who will pay.
>   Will Perardi, a corn and soybean farmer in Illinois, thinks
> the small guy -farmers such as himself and country elevators -
> will lose money as companies adjust their infrastructure and
> transportation arrangements to meet end-user requests for
> segregation.
>   "From a farmer's perspective, this is going to be a problem,"
> Perardi said. "Farmers are the ones who will pay the price for
> the new grain bins, the new processors, more testing, separate
> storage and transportation overhead. Farmers will pay for this.
> Things could get nasty." Big processing firms, squeezed to pay
> for the new initiatives, will have less money to pay farmers for
> their grain, Perardi said.
>   Farmers aren't the only ones upset.
>   One small Midwest soy processor isn't convinced that
> operations such as the one he runs are anywhere near ready to
> provide the identity-segregation ADM is requesting.
>   "I don't think it's realistic," he said, speaking on condition
> of anonymity. "There's not enough room to segregate, and no
> facilities. It will be expensive."   If he found customers
> asking for traditional beans, the processor said, he'd do what
> he could to meet the request. For him, that would mean cleaning
> out a storage bin and using it solely for storing traditional
> product. "It's tougher than you'd think," he said. "It's
> expensive."
>     Soy Crusher Questions Level Of Demand For Non-GMOs
>   Other soy crushers in his area have called him, asking what
> they should do in the wake of ADM's announcement.
>   "I said to them, 'If you have the space, try to do it'," he
> said. "If there's a market, we'll do some segregating. If not,
> we won't. So far, we don't think the market is large enough."
>   Knight, of the NCGA, said "We're very skeptical that the
> elevator system is ready for sophisticated handling and testing
> of these different varieties. The infrastructure was set up over
> decades to move commodity grain, and we're now starting to see
> differentiation in the marketplace."
>   Farmers are considering what type of crop to plant next year,
> and ADM's announcement may push some over to the side of not
> planting GMOs. About half the U.S. soybean crop and one-third of
> the U.S. corn crop are genetically altered.   "The events of
> this fall will determine the rate of acceptance of these
> products," Knight said. "Public debate has been widespread, and
> it will have an impact on what varieties of corn and beans get
> planted next year."   It would be a shame, experts said, if this
> debate over the safety of GMOs ends up biting into the
> popularity of genetically altered grain, which many see as not
> only safe, but also as a possible solution to world food
> problems.   "We believe very strongly that the technology is
> safe," said Lori Johnson, spokeswoman for Minnesota food
> processor Cargill Inc. (X.CRG) "It's probably the most intensely
> scrutinized food product ever developed by mankind."   Cargill,
> unlike ADM, isn't encouraging suppliers to segregate. Instead,
> Johnson said, it will work on a case-by-case basis with end
> users that wish to buy traditional grain, locating farmers who
> can provide it. Those end users, she said, should be willing to
> pay a premium for the segregated products. "We recognize that
> the farmer needs to be paid for any special efforts or special
> handling," Johnson said. "That has to be part of the mix or it
> won't work."
>   Customer Is Always Right, But Maybe Not This Time
>   ADM, too, realizes this. Earlier this year, the company said
> it would pay an 18-cent-per-bushel premium for traditional
> soybeans.
>   "We need to protect our business for ADM and the farmer," said
> Martin Andreas, senior vice president of ADM, in a telephone
> interview this week. "We want elevators and farmers to be aware
> so we can offer customers the choice and keep sales here in the
> U.S. We're just looking to protect American business."   It's
> fine for ADM to be concerned about making its customers happy,
> the NCGA's Knight said. But the industry would ill serve
> customers by meekly going along with what may prove to be an
> irrational aversion to these products.   "I never want to say
> consumer concern isn't right," Knight said. "At the same time,
> all of us engaged in these genetically enhanced products have a
> responsibility to have a dialogue with the consumer, saying
> these products are safe. For ADM to say, 'The consumer wants
> this, so we'll provide it', isn't 100% the way to go."
>     -By Daniel Rosenberg; 312-750-4118;
>   (END) DOW JONES NEWS  09-02-99
>   04:59 PM
> ======#======