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Keeping Science Honest

Tuesday 20 August 2002

Keeping Science Honest

Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics urge more honest reporting and debate on genetic engineering biotechnology. PR-speak and the pushing of corporate profits are disguising the real issues.

Monsanto's new patents (W0 02/28184/5) show that their transgenic pest control crops may not be desirable in the long term. This exemplifies the urgent need to apply the precautionary principle and stop the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment.

As early as December 1999, The New Scientist reported that Novartis had doubts about transgenic crops. Now Monsanto recognizes that transgenic crops such as Bt corn and Bt cotton produce resistant strains and that numerous problems remain under actual field conditions.

To overcome these problems Monsanto plans to engineer corn/maize to release endotoxins and treat the seed with clothianidin and thiamethoxam pesticides, claiming this will have a synergistic effect with the endotoxin and increase resistance to corn rootworm.

Genetic engineering biotechnology has not proven the lucrative bonanza forecast. What it is doing is forcing research funding away from sound biotechnology developments.

(173 words)

References: New Scientist, 17 August 2002, Vol. 175, p22: GM plants no panacea, Barry Fox; New Scientist, 18 December 1999, p 5. See also Reuters, London, 19 August 2002; Financial Times (UK), 18 August 2002, Monsanto scales down hopes on GM foods, Caroline Daniel in Chicago

Press Release from PSRG, Tuesday 20 August 2002. PSRG is a New Zealand organization with no affiliations to industry or any political party.

Enquiries to roberta@clear.net.nz>or 64 7 576 5721. Spokespersons: John Clearwater PhD on 09 828 3339 or 025 224 8955; Dr Paul Butler on 09 445 9054.

ENDS


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