lunes, mayo 16, 2005


Would it be worse to find a finger in your chili or guzzle human DNA when you down a beer? In the recent furor over the potential for "pharmed" rice to destroy Missouri's rice growing industry, something is being downplayed: corporations are proposing to put human DNA into plants whose neighboring cousins could end up being eaten (or drunk) by people.

Ever since Ventria Bioscience announced its intentions to plant genetically engineered rice, it faced strong opposition from environmentalists and local rice farmers. "Pharming" is an experimental method of inserting human or animal genes into plants so they will become biofactories for producing pharmaceuticals. Ventria claims that its pharmed rice would produce the proteins lactoferrin and lysozyme, which would go into medicines for dehydration and diarrhea. But Friends of the Earth spokesperson Bill Freese says that Ventria is just as likely to use its rice to make granola bars, yogurt or poultry feed.

The Missouri project would allow up to 204.5 acres of such rice to be grown. It would not only be the largest pharmed crop in the world - it would dwarf the typical pharmaceutical crop of less than an acre.

Rice farmers are not at all happy with the idea of such a large field being planted next to theirs. If the pharmed rice spreads, it could contaminate their fields. Pharmaceutical rice could be spread by cross-pollination, floods, rice-eating birds, rice grains in farm equipment, or human error in distribution. Risks from pharmed rice include allergic reactions, aggravation of bacterial infections, and autoimmune disorders.

Fo' mo' info:

The Biopharmaceutical Harvest, by Carmelo

1 Comentarios:

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2:35 a. m.  

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