Conference for members of Research Ethics committees to take place in,
Brussels, 27 & 28 January 2005
The Europe of Knowledge 2020 Parallel seminars: Two seminars took place
on: Sciences dissemination and Science shops and universities. (address
The Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) 2004 will
be held in Cologne, Germany on September 12 to 15, 2004 with the theme “AgBiotech
Participants of the 5th Latin American and Caribbean Meeting on Agricultural
Biotechnology (REDBIO 2004) declared their support for the responsible and
rational use of biotechnology to improve the quality of human life.
International Conference on Agricultural Biotechnology Ushering in the
Second Green Revolution, New Delhi, India, August 10-13, 2004 (see
U.S.-Africa Agribusiness Conference - Nov. 7-10 2004 Monterey, CA, USA
More information and brochure at
Paul Christou, Harry Klee (eds.), Handbook of Plant Biotechnology Part
9. Risk Assessment of Transgenic Crops Copyright 2004 John Wiley & Sons,
Ltd. All rights reserved.
Chapter 53: Klaus Ammann: Factors Influencing Public Policy Development
in Agricultural Biotechnology.
Klaus Ammann, (Botanic Garden, University of Bern Switzerland)
Biljana Papazova Ammann, (Botanic Garden, University of Bern Switzerland):
Handbook of Plant Biotechnology (Wiley).
Introgression from Genetically Modified Plants into Wild Relatives Edited
by H C M den Nijs, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, D Bartsch,
Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany, and J Sweet, National Institute
of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Cambridge, UK
Bt Corn Videos - Asia's First: The Bt Corn Story in the Philippines (18.5
minutes); More Choices: The Lagao Farmers' Story (5.5 minutes). The cost
from ISAAA is $10.
Precautionary Principle and the WTO Law By- Lawrence A. Kogan can be
http://diplomacy.shu.edu/journal/KOGAN - Precautionary Principle & WTO Law.pdf
The Future of Genetically Modified Crops: Lessons from the Green Revolution
- Felicia Wu and William Butz, Rand Corporation, $20.00 (paperback, 114
pp.); ISBN: 0-8330-3646-7, MG-161-RC, © 2004
Free, downloadable at
Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: The Green Revolution Chapter Three:
The Gene Revolution: Genetically Modified Crops Chapter Four: Lessons for
the Gene Revolution from the Green Revolution
The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution
- by Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, Praeger Publishers, Hardcover ISBN:
0-275-97879-6; 296 pages $39.95
by Norman E. Borlaug; Prologue by John H. Moore;(UK Sterling Price: ?22.99)
Availability: Not yet published. (Estimated publication date, 8/30/2004)
EU a EUROPE
Open consultation: The Commission would welcome views and comments from
all regarding the future European research policy. Contributions would be
particularly welcome from the research community and users of research,
including public institutes, universities, large companies, SMEs, research
organisations, international organisations and associations. An online questionnaire
Ratified by 55 countries, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources
for Food and Agriculture has entered into force. The groundbreaking treaty
contains legally binding provisions for the protection of agricultural genetic
diversity, as well as the rights of farmers (see GENERAL).
Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) Food Quality and Satefy
The folder "Food quality and safety in Europe" containing 39 leaflets presenting
EU-funded research projects focusing on food is now available for download.
Bioethics Documents - Survey on opinions from National Ethics Committees
or similar bodies, public debate and national legislation in relation to
human embryonic stem cell research and use ? July 2004 Volume I ? EU Member
States (PDF 793 Kb) Volume II ? Non-EU countries (PDF 392Kb).
Science and Society - Euroscience Open Forum
2004 (ESOF 2004) The Euroscience Open Forum 2004 is the first pan-European
scientific meeting ever staged to provide an interdisciplinary forum for
open dialogue, debate and discussion on science and technology in society.
4. August. From: Denis Murphy, University of Glamorgan,
Since April 18 2004, the GM Food and Feed traceability regulations ((EC)
no. 1829/2003 and (EC) no. 1830/2003) state that it is a legal requirement
for all food and feed containing >0.9% fully approved GM material to be
labelled as so. Grain passports now contain a declaration stating that the
load is not subject to the GM labelling requirements - i.e. does not contain
any GM material. It is the grower's responsibility to ensure that they are
using up to date copies of the passport to avoid creating problems further
down the line, warned Paul Ibbott, Chief Arable Advisor to the NFU.
From now on rapeseed (canola) growers may have to test each truckload
of their seed for GM-free status - otherwise they could be labelled as GM
& may be rejected by crushers.
"Fuel-farming" comes in.
Z Of the options available to UK agriculture, oil-seed rape (OSR) currently
seems the best. Syngenta Royal is the highest seed yield hybrid on the market.
It allows farmers to produce about 1800 litres of oil per hectare. 400 hectares
can help generate enough electricity for 1000 homes.
Syngenta NK Seeds is now providing Royal to farmers with an OSR selling
contract from the partnering electricity plant. Syngenta Crop Protection
will support both parties with the best agronomic advice. By June 2005,
the electricity plant should be ready to receive the first test deliveries.
The second partner company will then buy the OSR power for its "green energy
If the trial goes well, several former UK collieries intend to buy OSR
for their electricity-producing turbines. And thereafter? If the UK devoted
all its 'set aside' and half the existing OSR area to bioelectricity, the
country would rapidly reach one of its major Kyoto targets.
Basic document for non-food crops see
The French Food Safety Agency (equivalent to the FDA in the United States),
has come up with definite conclusions indicating that, under certain circumstances,
biotech crops can be beneficial to human health. The reports explicitly
says that the production of new crops that are resistant to insects would
have a doubly positive impact on both farmers and consumers' health by lowering
their exposure to pesticides and to mycotoxins.
ABIC (Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference)
Manifesto is now established after an editorial phase within the steering
committee of the ABIC conference in Cologne:
The newsletter No. 4 contains comments by Klaus Ammann about the
biotech debate in Europe and the Manifesto
August 6 Food Week (ABIX Abstracts)
A UK food institute is supportive of the next generation of genetically
modified (GM) foods. According to Ralph Blanchfield, of the Institute
of Food Science & Technology, "food problems of the future will not be solved
without GM", in light of the 30,000 deaths per day globally from diet deficiency
illnesses. Blanchfield says that the first generation of GM foods was mainly
for the benefit of food producers. He believes that the advancement has
been marred by the negative portrayal in the media. Blanchfield adds that
for the next generation of GM foods to succeed, it had to address consumer
Rudolf Valenta of Austria's Medical University
of Vienna and colleagues used genetic engineering to create a hypoallergenic
vaccine from birch pollen. They then successfully tested it in human subjects.
An allergy vaccine derived from genetically engineered birch pollen has
proven effective in human subjects, showing that genetic engineering can
be used to produce hypoallergenic therapies for treating many common allergies.
The research is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
August 14 MARSAT, France
Several hundred protesters trashed a field of genetically engineered corn
Saturday, despite the presence of about 100 pro-biotech militants and almost
as many police. The protests pushed down a fence and trampled a 1.5-hectare
where the genetically modified corn was growing. The protesters included
Gilles Lemaire, national secretary of the Green party, and Gerard
Leras, the party's regional chief.
August 16, Edinbourgh News, Nicola Stow
The head of the science lab which created Dolly the sheep has been found
hanging in his holiday home. Professor John Clark, who was
believed to have been suffering from depression was found in his remote
cottage in the village of Cove, north of Eyemouth, on the Berwickshire coast.
August 18, Swissinfo
The government has come out against a proposal calling for a five-year moratorium
on genetically modified (GM) crops in Switzerland. It said such a move would
damage Switzerland's standing in the field of agricultural research as well
as its trade relations with other countries.
Put forward by a coalition of environmental groups, consumers and farmers,
the people's initiative calls for a ban on the farming of GM crops for use
in food, and the importing of GM seeds and fodder. Supporters collected
almost 121,000 signatures - 100,000 are needed for a people's initiative
- in just seven months last year, after parliament voted to reject a moratorium
on GM crops.
But on Wednesday [August 18], the cabinet said that a law on genetics
that came into effect in January this year adequately protected humans,
animals and the environment against abuses. It said that the law had already
set out a procedure authorizing the import and distribution of Genetically
Modified Organisms or GMOs. It added that the legislation was precautionary
and aimed at protecting non-GM agriculture.
Added to this, said the government, was the fact that the procedure for
allowing genetically modified plants in the country was likely to take several
Ministers also said that the initiative went too far and could damage
Switzerland as a place of scientific development, even if research was not
directly targeted by the moratorium. In a statement, they said that scientists
could be tempted to conduct their work elsewhere if the future of GM crops
remained uncertain in Switzerland. Another point for the government was
that if the country accepted a moratorium on imports, this could have a
damaging effect on its trade relations and Switzerland could stand accused
of violating international treaties.
August 20, Cordis
Following the destruction on August 14, of two fields of genetically engineered
corn by several hundred protesters calling themselves the 'volunteer reapers'
and headed by the anti-globalisation campaigner, José Bové, there
are indications that both the French government and the general public are
wavering in their opposition to open-field tests of genetically modified
organism (GMO) crops.
Catholic Institute for International Relations
(CIIR) Unit 3, Canonbury Yard, 190a New North Road, London N1 7BJ. (In some
countries CIIR is known as International Cooperation for Development (ICD))
issued a leaflet on GMO with statement (introduced "we believe that....")
identical with Greenpeace. The leaflet was "Produced with the financial
assistance of the European Commission. Note: "The views expressed herein
are those of CIIR and can therefore in no way be taken to reflect the official
opinion of the European Commission."
While opening a bio-safety greenhouse complex at the Kenya Agricultural
Research Institute's National Agricultural Research Laboratories Centre
at Kabete in June, President Mwai Kibaki affirmed that the government
strongly supports the use of GM crops and other modern scientific technologies
to boost agriculture.
While registering his support for GMOs, Kibaki said that he was fully
aware of the ongoing debate on the application of GMOs. He said that Kenya
would apply biotechnology within the existing bio-safety structure, national
statutes and international obligations.
He announced that the Government and other players had introduced comprehensive
guidelines for the use of biotechnology research. "The development of a
biotechnology policy is at an advanced stage. Bills to support this policy
are being prepared for consideration in Parliament," he said.
August 6, CropBiotech Update - Uganda
Uganda's outgoing minister for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries,
Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba-Mugerwa, has challenged the country's parliament
to pass the national biosafety law to facilitate the use of biotechnology
to ease problems faced by the country's agriculture sector.
Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa, Uganda's Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry
and Fisheries, has been appointed director of the International Service
for Agricultural Research, a new division of the International Food Policy
Research Institute (IFPRI).
August 25, Pretoria News
In reply to the article by Melanie Gosling entitled "Secret tests
on GM potatoes to go ahead", we wish to point out that Potatoes South Africa,
the representative organisation of South Africa's potato producers, supports
the use of modern biotechnology to improve the production of potatoes in
South Africa provided it is done in a safe, responsible and ethical manner.
August 6, Tokyo (Nikkei Report)
Oji Paper Co. s(3861) has successfully grafted natural eucalyptus onto genetically
modified eucalyptus to create trees that grow well in acidic soils without
worry that genetically altered seeds will spread in the environment.
The graft has the root system of a eucalyptus tree genetically modified
to absorb nutrients in acidic soils, where eucalyptus normally does not
thrive. The rest of the graft from the trunk up is derived from a natural
Using a greenhouse isolated from the environment, the company has verified
that these trees mature and produce seeds that do not contain any genetic
material from the bottom half of the graft.
Oji Paper plans to repeat the experiments in a normal greenhouse this
year to verify a second time that the grafts pose no danger of release of
modified genes into the environment.
August 1, Financial Express
The US based International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications
(ISAAA) is slated launch its 'knowledge centre' in India in collaboration
with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
(ICRISAT). In this way ISAAA has added India to its network of Biotechnology
Information Centres (BICs) located in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The launch of this 'knowledge centre' will be on the occasion of the three-day
International conference on 'Agricultural Biotechnology : Ushering in the
Second Green Revolution' beginning on August 10.
August 5, New Delhi, Asia pulse.
In what could provide major relief to farmers reeling under drought, International
Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is set to launch
field trials of genetically-modified short-term and high yielding groundnuts
from next season and pigeon pea in 2006. "The groundnut variety is ready
for field trials from next seasons (2004) and we are in talks with partners
including Indian Council of Agricultural Research in India," ICRISAT Director
General William Dar told reporters here. He said the field trials
for the GM pigeon pea variety will start in 2006. "We have also developed
a variety of sweet sorghum which is better than sugarcane in manufacturing
ethanol, helping the country's energy needs and helping the environment,"
Swarna Bharat Biotechnics Private Ltd (SBBPL), in Hyderabad, India, a
consortium of seven Indian seed companies, has received licenses for two
genes derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which protect cotton against
bollworm and tobacco caterpillar.
The Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) at the International Crops Research
Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India is now
collaborating with private sector clients.
Bioseed Research India Pvt. Ltd., a part of the DCM Shriram Group, is
working on research projects related to the application of agricultural
biotechnology for the development of superior cotton hybrids.
August 10. Uttara Choundhury AFP
Biotechnology is needed to combat pests and other challenges facing India's
farmers, and could spur another "green revolution," the country's science
and technology minister said Tuesday. "It's a new age weapon to fight the
odds in agriculture," Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal
told an agricultural biotechnology conference.
He pledged the government would ease red tape surrounding clearance of biotechnologies.
"We're evolving a simple, transparent regulatory system to rapidly speed
up by January 2005 the approval or rejection of technologies to give our
farmers additional choices," he told the two-day global meeting.
August 26. Financial Express (India)
In a bid to boost research in the biotechnology sector, the government has
decided to provide funding and infrastructure support for public-private
partnership programmes in specific areas. The identified areas include crops,
biofertilisers, medicinal and aromatic plants, animal and plant biotechnology,
aquaculture and marine biotechnology.
Dato Haji Idris bin Haji Belaman, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry
of Industry and Primary Resources, at the opening address of the Awareness
Seminar of Bio-safety Aspects of Genetically Modified Organisms and the
launching of the book on 'Frequently Asked Questions on Genetically Modified
Organisms' yesterday said that conventional ways of producing food will
not be able to keep pace with the rapid rates of population growth.
He added that considering the fact that a significant number of the world
population are Muslims and the majority of those who live in Brunei are
also Muslims, it should become our concern that emphasis should also be
applied in developing our capabilities to regulate the non-halal components
in the genetically modified organisms.
The two-day seminar will give participants the opportunity to share experiences
through the presentation of technical papers and exchanges of ideas on matters
relating to GMO's Biosafety.
A total of 12 papers will be presented by experts from Brunei, Cambodia,
Lao People's Democratic Republic, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.
August 21. Bangkok Post, Kultida Samabuddhi
Thailand has fully embraced the technology of genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra gave the green light
yesterday to an open-field trial that would lead to commercial plantations
and imports of GM products
August 24. Manila Standard
Thailand has lifted a three-year ban on planting genetically modified organisms
by allowing the crops to grow in open-field trials with non-GMO plants,
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Saturday. Thailand is set
to join other Asian leaders in the modern agricultural biotechnology following
the lifting of a three-year ban on the planting of GMOs in that country,
a move which may place the Philippines in the "laggard" category.
Philippines Results of Local Bt Corn Studies
http://www.searca.org/~bic/press_releases/2004/august_18.html The SEARCA
Biotechnology Information Center (BIC) recently published two brochures
that highlighted the results of studies conducted on Bt corn in the Philippines.
In the "Philippines Bt corn and feed safety," Prof. Lydia J. Querubin,
university researcher, Institute of Animal Science, University of the Philippines
Los Banos (UPLB) investigated the feed safety and feeding value of Bt corn
to broilers and its effects on meat quality. Results showed that growth
performance and meat quality of broilers fed with Bt corn and non-Bt corn
diets are comparable suggesting the safety of Bt corn as feeds. Download
the brochure at
On the other hand, the brochure on "Philippines Bt corn and insect diversity"
the results of insect diversity studies on Bt corn fields conducted in Villaluna,
Cauayan, Isabela, and Panagan, Tigaon, Camarines Sur. Using the Shannon
Index to measure species diversity, Dr. Stephen G. Reyes, assistant professor,
Department of Entomology, UPLB, showed that in Bt- & non Bt-corn fields,
insect diversity was generally the same. He and co-workers found more beneficial
insects in Bt corn fields than in non-Bt corn fields sprayed with chemical
August 11, Reuters
Brazil says it has created the first complete map of the genetic structure
of the coffee plant and its Agriculture Minister says the country will now
work to develop a "super coffee". Brazil has mapped coffee's DNA in a bid
to cut production costs and create beans that cater to the rich tastes of
US and European consumers.
BSES (Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations) Bundaberg, in south-east Queensland,
says genetically modified (GM) sugarcane is safe because it cannot contaminate
The University of Queensland has lodged an application for a field trial
of GM sugar, and the Australian Democrats has raised concern that may affect
the industry's clean and green image.
Palmina Bonaventura from BSES Bundaberg says sugarcane does not
NEW GROUPS AND WEB PAGES
Drawing upon the expertise of their community of more than 120 academics,
researchers, and other life sciences professionals, an online coalition
of academics (http://www.PlantPharma.org)
have refuted a report that claims biotechnology-improved rice being grown
to help produce new life-saving therapeutic drugs may pose a risk to human
or environmental health.
For full press release, please visit:
http://www.plantpharma.org/ials/index.php?id=148 or write to us at
August 17. Via Agnet; Norman Ellstrand, principal
investigator, RIVERSIDE, California.
The National Science Foundation has awarded UC Riverside a $1.5 million
grant to research the unintended spread of engineered plant genes, an issue
at the heart of the controversy over genetically modified foods.
August 25. Dave Wood AgBioView,
(Resource Policy Analyst)
UN Seed Tax a Threat to US Farms
On June 29th this year, the International Treaty for Plant Genetic
Resources entered into force under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization. This Treaty is a threat to US agriculture and will reduce
the international competitiveness of US farming.
The Treaty sets up rules for access and benefit sharing for millions
of crop samples conserved in national and international genebanks. These
seeds, mainly of farmers' varieties, have been and will be essential raw
materials for plant breeders. Global food security and a vast international
trade depend on advances in plant breeding of crops such as wheat, rice,
corn and sorghum, which are covered by the treaty.
August 23. Rutgers, the State University of New
Rutgers food scientist Joseph D. Rosen asks, "Is organic food healthier
than conventional food?" - the title of a day-long symposium targeting consumer
health and economics he has organized for the 228th American Chemical Society
(ACS) National Meeting in Philadelphia on Monday, Aug. 23.
"The truth is out there," says Rosen, a professor of food science at
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, borrowing from "The X-Files."
While many Americans believe that organic food is healthier than conventional
fare, the scientific evidence does not necessarily support that belief,
Rosen contends. Detailed symposium agendas with links to individual abstracts
can be found at:
August 26, Reuters, Richard Waddington
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has put off until March a decision on
whether the European Union broke trade rules by not allowing imports of
genetically modified foods (GMO), officials said on Thursday. But
environmentalists said a verdict in the politically charged case, brought
against the European Union by the United States, Argentina and Canada, could
take even longer after trade judges agreed to hear scientific opinion.
WTO judges had initially been expected to issue a ruling in September
or October, but officials said that it had been put back until the end of
March to give both sides more time to make their case and to let the judges
question scientists. The judges' decision to take evidence from scientists
was seen as a victory for the EU, which had pressed for their views to be
heard, while the United States and its allies had argued that this was unnecessary.