sábado, mayo 27, 2006

Red Bionatur de semillas. Una herramienta estratégica del MST

Roberto Aguirre

Cuando las multinacionales se apropiaron de los recursos naturales y proponen una agricultura transgénica en manos de unos pocos, el MST plantea otro camino. “Si perdemos el patrimonio de las semillas, de nada servirá que conquistemos la tierra y el capital”


Genetically engineered trees are the new threat to Canada's forests

By Katie Shafley

The Dominion: News from the grassroots (Canada), May 20, 2006

The debate over genetically modified plants is moving beyond the fields and heating up under the forest canopy. Research on genetically engineered (GE) trees is well under way in many countries and GE trees may soon be a familiar presence in our forests. Orin Langelle and Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology have embarked on a campaign to stop GE tree research. According to Petermann, "GE trees are the greatest threat to the native forest since the chainsaw."

Currently, genetic research on trees is largely focused on developing methods that will make growing, harvesting and processing trees and their fruits and nuts, more 'efficient.' Scientists are experimenting with increasing levels of BT (a naturally occurring pesticide) in trees, increasing trees' resistance to herbicides, reducing levels of lignin (the substance which promotes rigidity) in trees, and making trees sterile. Each of these characteristics will have devastating consequences on the environment, says Petermann. "Biotechnology is so revolutionary that we know almost nothing about it...but so far everything has been one problem after another." For example, trees with increased levels of BT are supposed to result in a decrease in sprayed pesticides, but the opposite has been the case.

Trees with increased levels of BT result in the 'natural' selection of insects that are more resistant to the BT pesticide. This, in turn, necessitates higher pesticide levels, which can inadvertently kill non-target species. In the film 'A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees,' David Suzuki explains that the BT pesticide will also leach into the ecological cycle through the roots, leaves, flowers, and pollen. "A forest that kills insects would be catastrophic," says Suzuki.

Scientists are also working on creating sterile GE trees to prevent pollination of native trees; however, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it is nearly impossible to control gene flow through pollen and seed dispersal - even at a 95 percent success rate. As Petermann points out, "the sterilized trees are producing nothing, and the other 5% are still sending out tainted genes situation." By bearing no flowers, fruit, or nuts, the sterile trees will offer little nourishment to the wildlife around them, and accidental contamination of native forests by the non-sterile - but genetically modified - trees will result in unforeseeable upsets to the ecological balance. For example, according to Greenpeace's website, "reduced lignin could speed up the decomposition of trees, altering soil ecology, structure and fertility."

The Nanjing Institute of Environmental Science has already found genes from the GE poplars in Xinjiang, China appearing in natural varieties, and researchers have found backyard and organic papaya trees in Thailand and Hawaii contaminated by pollen from nearby GE papaya plantations.

Despite the risks, the biotechnology industry is promoting genetic modification as a way to clean up the environment by addressing problems like climate change and soil contamination. Aziz Choudry, Board Member of Global Justice Ecology, says this is simply a public relations move meant to "make the insane palatable," and will not work.

"They say that they can engineer trees to suck mercury [from the soil]," says Petermann, "but then the mercury is just displaced into the air." As for global warming, GE trees could be engineered to take CO2 out of the air faster than normal trees, but GE plantations would replace native forestland, inhibiting biodiversity. "Studies done by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the World Resources Institute found that in tropical areas plantations at best sequester only 1/4 the carbon as native forests," says Petermann. GE trees wouldn't offset carbon emissions enough to make a serious impact on global warming, says Petermann. A better response to global warming, she says, would be to cut down on pollution.

On March 22nd, Langelle and Petermann attended the Convention on Biological Diversity in Brazil to seek a moratorium on the research and commercial use of GE trees. While they did not achieve an all-out ban, the UN did recommend that the precautionary approach be used with GE trees. The application of the precautionary principle would mean that GE technology must be proven safe and necessary before being used. Canada and the United States argued against the recommendation.

The United States has a large stake in biotechnology, with 150 test plots conducting over two thirds of the world's GE tree research. The Canadian government has not yet released genetically modified trees into the commercial sector, but has been testing GE black spruce, white spruce, and poplar in greenhouses and outdoors since 1997, with test plots in Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Alberta.

So far, the only commercial GE tree plantations are in China, which released BT poplar trees in 2001. A destructive cycle led to China's GE forests, says Petermann. Initial deforestation in China led to desertification, leading to poplar plantations to curb the desertification. The poplar monoculture was vulnerable to insect infestation, so insect-resistant BT poplars were planted, which China did with the help of the UN Development Program and the FAO. "The accurate area of GM plantations cannot be assessed because of the ease of propagation and marketing of GM trees and the difficulty of morphologically distinguishing GM from non-GM trees," says Huoran Wang of the Chinese Academy of Forestry, "a lot of materials are moved from one nursery to another and it is difficult to trace them."

"It's completely unregulated," Langelle says. "People can buy these trees at any local nursery and plant them anywhere."

"Chile sees itself as a model for industrial forestry in the world," says Petermann, and may be next to commercialize GE trees. Genetic research is currently focused on the eucalyptus, which occupies a large portion of Chilean plantations. These plantations are already having devastating impacts on the environment and indigenous communities.

Plantations are water-intensive, which means they deplete groundwater, making it harder for other organisms and local communities to obtain water. The trees leach nutrients from the soil, reduce biodiversity and as monocultures, allow pests and diseases to flourish, requiring increased use of pesticides and herbicides. "Timber plantations are a scourge of the South," says Langelle, and combined with GE technology, plantations could have even more destructive effects. As the Greenpeace website reports, research is being done to create faster-growing trees, which would exacerbate problems of nutrient depletion and groundwater loss already present in plantations.

Petermann and Langelle are continuing their drive for a worldwide ban of GE trees at the next UN Convention on Biological Diversity in 2008. But Langelle's expectations of the UN are minimal, noting that "the UN is not really a body that's going to stop anything." Nevertheless, he believes that "people have the power to stop this."


viernes, mayo 26, 2006

Alarma sobre biología sintética: coalición global demanda debate público y supervisión inmediata

Una coalición de treinta y ocho organizaciones internacionales, que incluye científicos, ambientalistas, sindicalistas, expertos en armas biológicas y defensores de la justicia social llaman a un debate público urgente sobre la biología sintética, un campo en rápido avance que abarca la construcción de formas de vida artificiales, nuevas y únicas, diseñadas para tareas específicas

23 de mayo de 2006
Boletín de Prensa

El 20-22 de mayo, un grupo de biólogos se reunieron en Berkeley, California, con el objetivo de llamar a un código voluntario de conducta que autorregule su trabajo (1). Las organizaciones que firman la carta abierta llaman a los que trabajan en biología sintética a abandonar sus propuestas de autorregulación y a que se comprometan en un proceso incluyente de debate social global sobre las implicaciones de su trabajo (ver la carta abierta de científicos y organizaciones de la sociedad civil adjunta).

"Los investigadores reunidos en Berkeley reconocen los peligros que conlleva la biología sintética en manos equivocadas, pero ingenuamente soslayan la posibilidad -o la probabilidad- de que miembros de su propia comunidad no sean capaces de controlar o predecir el comportamiento de la biología sintética o sus consecuencias sociales," afirmó Jim Thomas del Grupo ETC.

"Los científicos que están creando nuevas formas de vida están actuando como juez y parte, una situación que es inadmisible", explica la Dra. Sue Mayer, directora de GeneWatch en el Reino Unido. "Las posibles implicaciones sociales, ambientales y para el desarrollo de armas biológicas son demasiado graves para dejarlas en manos de científicos que pueden tener buenas intenciones, pero no dejan de tener intereses específicos. Se requiere un debate público incluyente, y a partir de éste, definir políticas y regulaciones."

En los últimos años, biólogos que investigan cómo reescribir el código genético, han demostrado que pueden construir nuevos virus. Ahora ya están desarrollando formas de vida artificiales. En octubre del año pasado, los biólogos del Center for Disease Control de Estados Unidos recrearon el virus de la gripe española de 1918 que mató entre 50 y 100 millones de personas (2) . El mes pasado, científicos en la Universidad de Wisconsin-Madison crearon una nueva versión de la bacteria E. Coli (3). Mientras tanto, el magnate de la genómica, Craig Venter, cuya empresa anterior, Celera, encabezó la competencia comercial de secuenciamiento del genoma humano, lidera ahora la compañía Synthetic Genomics, (4) que busca comercializar microbios artificiales para usarlos, según declara, en producción de energía, agricultura y remediación de cambio climático. Es una de entre cuarenta empresas de biología sintética que sintetizan genes y/o construyen ADN artificial.

"La biotecnología provocó protestas en todo el mundo, pero la biología sintética es como ingeniería genética con esteroides", afirma la Dra. Doreen Stabinsky de Greenpeace Internacional. "Experimentar con organismos vivos nuevos y artificiales que podrían liberarse al ambiente significa una enorme amenaza a la bioseguridad de la gente y del planeta", agrega Stabinsky.

En octubre de 2004, un editorial de la revista Nature advirtió: "si en verdad los biólogos están en el umbral de sintetizar nuevas formas de vida, las posibilidades de abuso o desastres involuntarios podrían ser enormes." El editorial sugirió que podría haber necesidad de una conferencia como la de Asilomar, pero sobre biología sintética -la conferencia de Asilomar fue una reunión histórica realizada en 1975 donde científicos se reunieron a discutir los riesgos asociados con la ingeniería genética y optaron por el autogobierno, lo cual a fin de cuentas evitó la regulación gubernamental. Siguiendo el modelo Asilomar, la "comunidad de la biología sintética" intenta usar esta segunda conferencia (Synthetic Biology 2.0, del 20 al 22 de mayo de 2006) y adoptar un código de autogobierno para manejar los nuevos riesgos de bioseguridad que presenta esta tecnología.

Según la Carta Abierta, el efecto de la declaración de Asilomar fue retrasar el desarrollo de una regulación gubernamental apropiada y evitar una discusión sobre los impactos socioeconómicos. Asilomar probó ser un enfoque incorrecto. Synthetic Biology 2.0 es un nuevo enfoque equivocado.

"Los científicos deben asumir el hecho de que la ciencia ya no puede afirmar que vive en un reino abstracto desconectado del resto de la sociedad", dice Alexis Vlandas de la International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES).

Los firmantes de la Carta Abierta urgen a los biólogos sintéticos que se reunieron en Berkeley a retirar su declaración de autorregulación y unirse a un diálogo más amplio e inclusivo.

* *

Por mayor información:

Jim Thomas - ETC Group, email: jim@etcgroup.org, ph: +1 613 2412267
Pat Mooney - ETC Group, email: mooney@etcgroup.org, cell: +1 613 2610688
Hope Shand - ETC Group, email: hope@etcgroup.org, ph: +1 919 960-5767
Edward Hammond - Sunshine Project (experto en armas biológicas)
email: Hammond@sunshineproject.org, cell: +1 510 717 7772
Beth Burrows - Edmonds Institute: email: beb@igc.org, ph: +1 425-775-5383

Dr Sue Mayer - GeneWatch UK, email: sue.mayer@genewatch.org, ph: +44 1298 871898 (office); mobile: + 44 7930 308807
Alexis Vlandas - International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility email: alexis.vlandas@materials.ox.ac.uk, ph: +44 7747 036446

Por mayor información escrita, se puede descargar un documento de contexto sobre biología sintética, disponible en ETC Group: www.etcgroup.org y http://www.etcblog.org

Notas a los editores:

1. Información sobre la conferencia Synthetic Biology 2.0 y sus propuestas para autogobernarse: aquí
2. Tumpey, TM et al (2005) Characterization of the Reconstructed 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic Virus. Science 310: 77 - 80.
3. Posfai, G et al (2006) Emergent Properties of Reduced-Genome Escherichia coli. Publicado en línea el 27 de abril de 2006; 10.1126/science.1126439 (Science Express Reports).
4. http://www.syntheticgenomics.com/

Texto de la carta abierta:

Carta Abierta de movimientos sociales y otras organizaciones de la sociedad civil a la conferencia Synthetic Biology 2.0 (20 al 22 de mayo de 2006), Berkeley, California, referente al "voto amplio de la comunidad" sobre las resoluciones en torno a la bioseguridad ("community-wide vote" on Biosecurity and Biosafety resolutions), que serán implementadas el 1 de enero de 2007.

Escribimos para expresar nuestras profundas preocupaciones en torno al rápido avance de la biología sintética que se propone crear nuevas formas de vida artificial y de sistemas vivientes. Creemos que esta tecnología potencialmente poderosa se está desarrollando sin un debate social apropiado en torno a sus implicaciones socioeconómicas, para la seguridad, la salud, el ambiente y los derechos humanos. Nos alarma el hecho de que los biólogos reunidos en esta conferencia se proponen votar un esquema de autorregulación voluntaria sin haber consultado o involucrado grupos sociales más amplios. Los conminamos a retirar sus propuestas de autogobierno y a participar en un proceso de vigilancia abierto e incluyente de esta tecnología.

¿Asilomar 2.0?

En 1975 un grupo de científicos se reunieron en Asilomar para intentar discutir los peligros asociados con la ingeniería genética. La reunión de Asilomar promovió la autorregulación, que como resultado evitó el debate público y las acciones gubernamentales. Synthetic Biology 2.0 está siguiendo el mismo camino de la autorregulación. El espectro de la discusión en Asilomar estuvo muy limitado a las cuestiones de los peligros a la seguridad, excluyendo de manera explícita asuntos socioeconómicos y éticos de mayor amplitud. El efecto de la declaración de Asilomar fue retrasar el desarrollo de una regulación gubernamental apropiada y evitar la discusión sobre los enormes impactos socioeconómicos. Asilomar probó que ese fue un enfoque equivocado para entonces, y Synthetic Biology 2.0 es el enfoque equivocado ahora. Reconocemos que ustedes tienen una preocupación muy justificada sobre ciertos riesgos de la biología sintética, pero para limitar esos riesgos, la sociedad requiere de fuertes medidas obligatorias que concuerden con el principio de precaución. Como afirmó el presidente de la mesa en el reciente 'Town Hall Meeting' de Boston refiriéndose a estas propuestas: "No creo que sirvan de mucho para evitar el mal uso de esta tecnología". Coincidimos en que esas propuestas serán muy poco efectivas. Más aún, las preocupaciones por las consecuencias de la biología sintética sobre la sociedad, la economía, la ética, el ambiente y los derechos humanos van mucho más allá de disuadir a los bioterroristas y a los "malos". Deberían también considerarse a fondo cuestiones como las relativas a la propiedad (incluyendo la propiedad intelectual), la dirección y el control de la ciencia, la tecnología, sus procesos y productos.

La sociedad, especialmente los movimientos sociales y los pueblos marginados deben estar plenamente incluidos en diseñar y conducir el diálogo sobre el gobierno de la biología sintética. Debido al enorme potencial y alcance de este campo, las discusiones y decisiones sobre la tecnología deben tener lugar en formas accesibles (incluso físicamente accesibles) a nivel local, nacional y global.

Ante la ausencia de una regulación efectiva, se entiende que como científicos busquen establecer las mejores prácticas, pero la solución real es que se unan a la sociedad en la demanda de una amplia supervisión social de la tecnología y acciones públicas que aseguren el bienestar social. Más aún, en los años que han transcurrido desde Asilomar, la ciencia se ha vinculado más estrechamente a los intereses comerciales, por lo que esto podría parecer como una declaración de la industria de que solo ésta debe establecer políticas sobre sí misma.

Los urgimos, por tanto, a que retiren su declaración de autogobierno y se unan a nosotros en la búsqueda de un diálogo más amplio e incluyente.

Lista de organizaciones que firman la Carta Abierta:

Accion Ecologica (Ecuador) - www.accionecologica.org - Elizabeth Bravo
California for GE Free Agriculture - www.calgefree.org - Becky Tarbotton
Centro Ecologico (Brazil) - Maria Jose Guazzelli
Clean Production Action - www.cleanproduction.org - Beverley Thorpe
Cornerhouse UK - www.thecornerhouse.org.uk - Nick Hildyard
Corporate Europe Observatory - www.corporateeurope.org - Nina Holland
Corporate Watch (UK) - www.corporatewatch.org - Olaf Bayer
EcoNexus - www.econexus.info - Ricarda Steinbrecher
Ecoropa - Christine Von Weisczacker
Edmonds Institute - www.edmonds-institute.org - Beth Burrows
ETC Group - www.etcgroup.org - Jim Thomas
Farmers Link - www.farmerslink.org.uk - Hetty Selwyn
Friends of the Earth International - www.foe.org - Juan Lopez, Lisa Archer (USA),
Georgia Miller (Australia)
Foundation on Future Farming (Germany) - http://www.zs-l.de - Benedikt Haerlin
Fondation Sciences Citoyennes (France) - www.sciencescitoyennes.org - Claudia Neubauer
Gaia Foundation - www.gaiafoundation.org - Teresa Anderson
GeneEthics Network (Australia) - www.geneethics.org - Bob Phelps
Genewatch (UK) - www.genewatch.org - Sue Mayer
GRAIN - www.grain.org - Henk Hobbellink
Greenpeace International - www.greenpeace.org - Doreen Stabinsky
Henry Doubleday Research Association (UK) - www.gardenorganic.org.uk - Julia Wright
Indigenous People's Biodiversity Network - Alejandro Argumedo
International Center for Technology Assessment - www.icta.org - Jaydee Hanson
International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility - www.inesglobal.com - Alexis Vlandas
Institute for Social Ecology - www.social-ecology.org - Brian Tokar
International Center for Bioethics, Culture and Disability - www.bioethicsanddisability.org
International Union of Food and Agricultural Workers - www.iuf.org - Peter Rossman
Lok Sanjh Foundation (Pakistan) - www.loksanjh.org - Shahid Zia
National Farmers Union (Canada) - www.nfu.ca - Terry Boehm
Oakland Institute - www.oaklandinstitute.org - Anuradha Mittal
Polaris Institute - www.polarisinstitute.org - Tony Clarke
Pakistan Dehqan Assembly - contact via Lok Sanjh - see above.
Practical Action - www.practicalaction.org - Patrick Mulvany
Quechua Ayamara Association for Sustainable Livelihoods, (Peru) - www.andes.org.pe - andes@andes.org.pe
Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (India) - www.navdanya.org - Vandana Shiva
Soil Association - www.soilassociation.org - Gundula Azeez
Sunshine Project - www.sunshine-project.org - Edward Hammond
Third World Network - www.twnside.org.sg - Lim Li Ching - Gregor Wolbring

Documento en PDF: aquí

Fuente: ETC Group


jueves, mayo 25, 2006

Syngenta's corporate crimes


GM Free Cymru has discovered that Syngenta, in its promotion of GM crops and foods, has been involved in a web of lies, deceptions and obstructive corporate behaviour that would have done credit to its competitor Monsanto. It appears to be quite unfazed by the UN decision in Curitiba in March to maintain the moratorium on terminator technology. This is an updated list of some of the proud moments in the corporation's recent history:

** Syngenta knew about the contamination of Bt11 by the illegal variety called Bt10 several months before the story was broken by "Nature" magazine (1) on 22 March 2005. For at least four months Syngenta and the US regulatory authorities connived to keep the contamination incident under wraps, while contaminated grain continued to be distributed on the world market.

** The corporation at first failed to reveal that Bt10 contains antibiotic resistance marker genes, but then had to admit it under pressure from independent scientists (2). It also failed to reveal that it has a different promoter.

** The corporation pretended at first that Bt10 is "basically identical" to Bt11, but it was later pointed out that it was sufficiently distinctive to have been used as a "control" for the testing / identification of Bt11. The pretence was perpetrated by DEFRA, as indicated by a press statement which included these words: "Food or feed derived from a mixture of Bt 11 and Bt 10 maize seeds would not reveal the two original sources of Bt protein as they are identical." This is an unsupportable contention, and has no scientific validity (3).

** The corporation failed to point out that BT10 was clearly an "experimental GM variety" which never entered the US approvals process, probably because it was found to be defective or genetically unstable (4) (5).

** The variety has never had its genetic "character" described in the literature, which means that even if the EU countries had had effective import monitoring in place (which they had not) the GM testing laboratories would not have known what they were supposed to look for (6).

** At first Syngenta stated that "several hundred tonnes" of contaminated maize had found its way into the food chain (1). This was a lie, and following revelations by GM Free Cymru and other bodies, the corporation had to admit that the real figure was around 150,000 tonnes (7). We stand by our calculation that the real figure was around 185,000 tonnes.

** Syngenta has refused to give any figures relating to the amount of contaminated grain exported, and it has refused to identify the countries involved. At least twelve contaminated cargoes have been stopped at Japanese ports, and two in Ireland (8). It is a fair assumption that other contaminated cargoes have been imported, without being identified, through ports in other EC countries, and also in South Korea.

** The corporation has persistently peddled the line that all of the contaminated Bt10/Bt11 maize was intended for animal fodder and other products incorporated into processed animal feed. However, the Syngenta web site makes it clear that the Bt11 event (and hence Bt10 event also) is used in "yellow field corn", which goes into a wide range of processed foods with maize ingredients intended for human consumption (9).

** In an Email to DEFRA, dated 5th April 2005, and obtained by GM Free Cymru through the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, Syngenta admitted that the contamination incident was neither simple nor small in scale. It admitted that no less than five Bt10 breeding lines were involved (10).

** GM Free Cymru discovered that as at 5th April 2005 Syngenta was still holding 19,000 sacks of Bt10 seed "in quarantine" (10). It has never said that this seed has been destroyed, and it is therefore quite possible that it has quietly been slipped back into the food chain and planted as Bt11 maize.

** It has also been admitted by the company that one of the Bt10 breeding lines "was commercialized in a very small amount" -- which would have been illegal even in the USA, since consent for Bt10 lines was never requested or given (10).

** Following the admission that a major contamination incident had taken place, Syngenta embarked upon an energetic damage limitation exercise. Spokesmen said over and again that the tonnage of contaminated maize was but a minute fraction of total US maize production, and they suggested that Bt10 maize would have been diluted evenly through the food chain (11). This is totally dishonest. Since maize is bought in the market place in batches and shipped to food processors in Europe, there is a chance that some food products on supermarket shelves will have had high concentrations of Bt10 in them.

** While regulators in Japan and the EU attempted to establish a reliable test for Bt10 so that incoming cargoes of maize products from the US could be monitored, Syngenta refused absolutely to provide information about the genetic makeup of the variety which could have enabled GM testing labs to start work. After a considerable delay, Syngenta worked out a testing method with a company called GeneScan in May 2005 which was suspected to have been carefully designed to provide "false negatives" -- in other words, to ensure that shipments with low or moderate contamination would not be identified no matter how much sampling was done (11).

** On the political front, it has now been established that Syngenta was very active in the Brazilian delegation that derailed the Cartagena Protocol biosafety negotiations in Montreal in June 2005 (12). In pursuity of its corporate objectives Syngenta has been active in Brazilian political circles for a number of years. It has also (as a Swiss-based company) been heavily involved in the pro-GM campaign prior to the Swiss referendum on 27 November 2005. (18)

** In the first "Corngate" scandal in New Zealand in 2000, illegally imported GM maize seed was planted on 178 ha of land. Mystery still surrounds the fate of the crop. Later, when this leaked out, Syngenta refused to allow access to the GeneScan laboratory which carried out the testing that identified the contamination. (13)

** Syngenta has been actively involved in the promotion of "Golden Rice" in rice-growing countries, and has used its development and "gift" of Golden Rice 2 in its promotion and publicity work, as flagging up its humanitarian concerns and philanthropic instincts. NGOs and consumers and farming groups have pointed out that the Golden Rice project is a gigantic scam which will bring virtually no benefits in terms of hunger alleviation. (14)

** The corporation is the developer and owner of another maize variety called Bt176 which was implicated in the deaths of 12 cattle in Hesse, Germany, in 2001-2002.(15) Bt176 is unstable and non-uniform, which means that it is illegal under EU law. When news of that scandal broke, the investigations relating to the animal deaths were short-lived and profoundly unsatisfactory, involving the mysterious disappearance of animal tissue samples that should have been examinued. Syngenta gave the farmer partial compensation in 2002 but refused to provide more support in making a full investigation into the case and to recognise the GM maize as being the cause of his problems. The corporation was then implicated in attempts to attribute the cattle deaths to mismanagement and other factors. (16) This was classic corporate behaviour ...............

** Syngenta is currently involved in the acquisition of patents for "terminator technology" around the world, in clear breach of the commitments given some years ago by the GM multinationals that this technology would be abandoned because of the host of biological, ecological and agricultural dangers involved. Syngenta now owns more "terminator" patents than any other company.

** In March 2006 South American farmers wrote to the head of Syngenta, Michael Pragnell, pleading with him to abandon Patent 6,700,039 which could directly threaten the 3,000 potato varieties native to Peru. It is not known whether Pragnell has replied. If potatoes modified with the "terminator gene" were to cross with other cultivated varieties, Syngenta could effectively take control of the Peruvian food supply through the sales of proprietory chemicals required to "switch on" the potato germination process (19).

** Syngenta and DuPont (Pioneer Hi-Bred) have joined forces in GreenLeaf Genetics with a view to extending their GM business and competing more effectively with Monsanto. It is inevitable that more maize and soya varieties with multiple GM traits will soon be introduced, no doubt with similar disregard for testing and quality control that characterised the Bt10- fiasco (20). The new company will seek to "out-license" GM traits, which probably means that the new licensee seed companies will be even less concerned about health and safety issues than Syngenta. Sales of glyphosate-resistance and other GM traits are already being discussed with more than 100 companies. This can only mean an extension to the marketing and use of glyphosate in the growing of GM soya and corn including those known as "NK" varieties.

**Pressure from GM Free Cymru has at last resulted in a request from Commissioner Kyprianou to Syngenta for further information about the test method for Bt10, following concerns expressed by the EU's Joint Research Centre about anomalies and the possibility of "false negatives". (21) We have warned about this for the past twelve months. We have grave doubts that Syngenta will cooperate as requested.

** Over one thousand farmers occupied the site of an illegal field trial of GM soybeans planted by Syngenta on the edge of the National Park of Iguacu in Parana, southern Brazil in March 2006. The site of the illegal trials was occupied by protesting farmers from "Via Campesina", an organisation representing small farmers in the region. Ironically, the illegal crop was planted near to Curitiba, where 132 countries met to agree measures to prevent illegal movement and planting of GE crops and to protect biodiversity - the so-called Biosafety Protocol. Brazilian legislation prohibits the release of GMOs in protected areas and their surroundings. (22) The country's Environmental Protection Agency has fined Syngenta $461,000.

** Syngenta is pressing ahead with its plans to market at least one GM wheat variety "early in the next decade." (23) This is in spite of massive opposition worldwide, and in spite of the fact that competitor Monsanto (not normally known for being sensitive to public opinion) has dipped out of the "GM wheat race." As ever, Syngenta shows itself to be quite impervious to anything said outside its own boardroom, and seems hellbent on selling its products initially into the American large-scale, high-input GM farming industry prior to a gradual contamination of wheat-fields worldwide.

** At the UN meeting in Grenada in January 2006, and at the meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP8) in Curitiba, Brazil in March, Syngenta lobbied very aggressively for the abandonment of the moratorium on terminator technology. Also involved in the lobbying were Monsanto, Crop Life International, Delta and Pine Land, and the International Seed Federation. Syngenta pressed for a "case by case" approval of terminator technology, and was even supported in this, at one stage, by the Swiss government. In spite of this shameful action, the ban on terminator was upheld largely because of the incredible resolve of the poorer nations. (24)


(1) "US launches probe into sales of unapproved transgenic corn", Colin Macilwain NATURE, 22 March 2005 http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050321/full/nature03570.html

Useful summary of the Bt10 scandal by Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception:

Bt10 likely in human food chain

(2) Stray seeds had antibiotic-resistance genes Nature, Published online: 29 March 2005; | doi:10.1038/434548a Colin Macilwain: "Accidental release of genetically-modified crops sparks new worries".

(3) http://www.gnn.gov.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=153346&NewsAreaID=2

DEFRA and FSA were informed by Syngenta of the contamination incident on 22 March 2005.
DEFRA Press Release, 23 March 2005

(4) "I have confirmed with FDA that "BT10 never went through an FDA consultation process. Therefore, it was never reviewed for unintended human health effects, at least not by the U.S." Doug Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Center for Food Safety, 660 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 302, Washington, D.C. 20003

(5) A search of the EC / EFSA web site reveals that BT10 had, as at 22 March 2005, never featured in any studies or discussions. The Syngenta event Bt 10 is a Lepadopteran toxin Cry1Ab.

Bt10 not the same as Bt11

(6) http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5069

Scientists Rubbish Official Claim GM Corn is Safe / Syngenta's GM Maize Scandals (5/4/2005)

(7) http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5073

(8) As at December 2005 at least twelve contaminated cargoes have been identified in Japan and Ireland, involving 34,000 tonnes in the former country and 2,500 tonnes in the latter. But in the period 2000-2003 (when most Bt10 would have come into the food chain) a total of c 685,000 tonnes of maize and maize products (excluding seed and popcorn) was imported by the EU from the USA; products contaminated with Bt10 will long since have been consumed.

(9) This type of corn is picked at a mature, predominantly starchy stage, dried to a more hardened state, and used in a multitude of ways--as livestock feed and, after refining, in a wide array of processed foods and drinks, from cornstarch to whiskey (as well as in many nonfood products, such as fuel, paper, and plastics). The full range of manufactured maize products is enormous, including packaged sweetcorn, corn on the cob, baby food, corn oil, corn flour, corn starch, polenta, maize meal, maize pasta, maize based snacks and tortillas (including tortilla chips and tacos).

(10) http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5346

(11) http://www.eurofins.com/news/specials/syngenta-pressrelease-BT10/en

Bt10 Detection Method Unacceptable

The detection method for Syngenta’s illegal GM maize is flawed; there must now be a full disclosure of information and access to reference material for retrospective risk assessment and risk management. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins

(12) http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5345


(13) http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3227702a10,00.html

(14) Golden rice


When Public Relations replaces Science

(15) Cows ate GM maize and died

(16) http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/cows121703.cfm

(17) Danish tax on GM crops

(18) The Swiss referendum on GM

The 5-year moratorium is now part of the Swiss constitution SAG and Blueridge-Institute (www.gentechfrei.ch and www.blauen-institut.ch)
Press release/background information 29.11.2005

(19) http://www.iied.org/NR/agbioliv/documents/Carta%20a%20syngenta.pdf

(20) http://www.syngenta.com/en/media/press/2006/04-10.htm

(21) http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6410

GMOs : Commission requests information from Syngenta to confirm reliability of detection method for Bt10 maize April 4, 2006, European Commission Media Release

(22) http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/en/press/releases/pharmaceutical-giant-syngenta

(23) http://www.checkbiotech.org/blocks/dsp_document.cfm?doc_id=12443

(24) News of the (ultimately unsuccessful) Syngenta campaign is found here: http://www.banterminator.org/news_updates/news_updates/un_meeting_undermines_

However, Syngenta has not shown the slightest concern at the UN decision, and is pressing ahead with its Terminator Technology development programme.





By Mariam Mayet

African Centre for Biosafety


May 2006

“Producing GM crops for non-food purposes, as a renewable source of alternative fuels, may also provide the basis for a more rational and balanced consideration of the technology and its potential benefit, away from the disproportionate hysteria, which has so often accompanied the debate over GM foods.” Agriculture Biotechnology Council (comprised of Bayer Cropscience, ABSF, Syngenta, Monsanto)[1]

“Politicians clinging to their colonial gestures are incapable of learning or reshaping themselves in the face of the end of the oil era. They attempt to replace agriculture with agribusiness and take a gamble on the globalised capitalism of the soya, either as animal fodder or as biofuels. They not only ignore the impending tragedy, but they also try to evade their responsibilities towards the alleviation of global Climate Change…… “ Grupo de ReflexionRural[2]




On the 12th May, Syngenta South Africa (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Swiss Agrochemical giant, Syngenta, notified the South African public of its intention to seek commodity clearance for its genetically modified (GM) maize, Event 3272, for use in the production of ethanol.[3] This precedent setting application, the first GM application for commercial approval in the world for a non-feed, non-food GM crop, (using a food crop), has simultaneously also been launched in the US, the EU and China.

The application by Syngenta illustrates its expediency and desperation: Syngenta hopes to cash in on a potentially lucrative burgeoning global bioethanol market, riding on the back of escalating oil prices and supply fluctuations, while at the same time, securing new markets for its GM products where there is little risk of consumer rejection.

However, Syngenta’s application is also mysterious, for 2 reasons. The application made to South Africa is for clearance to expedite imports and not for growing. It is a guarded secret as to where Syngenta hopes to grow the GM maize. South Africa does not import GM maize from the US, for several reasons, including the fact that the US has approved many more GM events (varieties) than has South Africa and contamination by unapproved GMOs cannot be ruled out or avoided.[4] In any case, the US will rely on its own domestic market to sustain the demand for ethanol from maize in that country. South Africa, does, however, import huge amounts of GM maize from Argentina. Will Argentina become the factory farm or will it be another developing country?

Second, the application seems to be superfluous in the light that Diversa Corporation, well known to anti-biopiracy activists, recently brought to the market, the same enzyme alpha-amylases, used in Syngenta’s GM maize. The enzyme is derived from a deep-sea micro-organism[5] and is meant to convert the starch present in maize into sugars for processing into ethanol. This same rationale is being given by Syngenta to the South African authorities as motivation to grant approval for the GM maize! What makes it all the more curious is that Syngenta owns substantial shares in Diversa.


Interest in ethanol as a biofuel is not new. It began during the oil crisis of the 1970s at that time when several countries, led by the US, began to phase out lead from gasoline. In 1978, the US Congress approved the National Energy Act, which included a Federal tax exemption on gasoline blended with 10% alcohol. Federal subsidies also reduced the cost of ethanol to around the wholesale price of gasoline.[6] Thus, in the US, ethanol relies heavily on subsidies to remain economically viable as a gasoline- blending component. The current Federal subsidy of 51-cents-a-gallon makes it possible for ethanol to compete as a gasoline additive. The US also imposes a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, thus promoting its domestic ethanol production.

However, gleaning from the literature, the ethanol subsidy is due to expire in 2007/8, and it is not clear whether ethanol will continue to receive political support.

In the US, ethanol is derived mainly from maize and is blended in quantities up to 10% in gasoline (also called E10 or low-blend). In terms of the Energy Bill passed called “EPAct 2005”, the volume of ethanol will be increased from the current 4 billion gallons/year to 7.5 billion. It is reported that a booming ethanol industry will consume 20% of the 2006 US maize crop, cutting the maize surplus in half by 2007, or 1.14 billion bushels. Some 54 million tonnes of the 2006 maize crop is projected to go to ethanol plants, up 34% from 40.6 million tonnes).[7]

There are 97 ethanol plants in the US with a capacity of 4.5 billion gallons (17 billion litres) a year. There are 44 projects under way that will add 1.4 billion gallons of capacity this year. By early 2007, the US it is expected to be producing at a rate of 24.6 billion litres of ethanol, requiring 2.15 billion bushels of maize.[8] This implies an increase in maize production in the US to sustain the demand for maize. Currently, the US is the world’s largest maize derived ethanol producer, accounting for 33% of the global market. Brazil is the world leader in ethanol production, derived from sugarcane, accounting for 37% of the global market.[9]

At the beginning of 2006, South Africa phased out the use of lead, which created a boon to the ethanol industry, as ethanol can be used as an additive to boost the octane number of unleaded fuel. In addition, and following on from the lead of the US, at the launch of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in November 2005, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the South African Cabinet had approved a proposal by the Departments of Minerals and Energy (DME), Agriculture and Land Affairs, and Science and Technology, to explore biofuels as an important component of South Africa’s energy mix.

Touted as a cleaner, greener fuel, by reducing CO2 emissions by 60%, ethanol is said to bring huge socio-economic benefits through especially job creation. According to Busi Nxumalo, South Africa’s Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) business and market analyst, a strong local biofuels industry will also make a significant contribution to South Africa’s GDP. According to him, if a 10% blended bioethanol is achieved, it will add 0,25% to the country’s GDP. In addition, a 10% blending ratio will enable South Africa to save R2.5-billion a year in imports, which equates to a reduction of 1% in overall national foreign expenditure. [10]

Industry lobby groups are feverishly pushing the South African government to create the economic regulatory framework to do two things: to make the blending of ethanol into petrol mandatory for oil companies, and to allow a 30% reduction in the fuel levy to be extended to bioethanol industry, as it currently does, the biodiesel industry. Indeed, Ngubane has said very recently that the EDC was investigating the viability of adding a 10% ethanol blend to petrol.[11]

Etiquetas: ,

New report by Carmelo

Biotech Crops and Foods: The Risks and Alternatives

by Oakland Institute Fellow Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero

The raging worldwide controversy over genetically engineered (GE) crops and products continues to grow. Proponents claim these novel crops are helping feed the hungry, improve the economic situation of farmers and make agriculture more environmentally sound. But a growing number of critics, which include environmentalists, farmers, intellectuals, indigenous peoples, students, academics, biologists, agronomists and people from all walks of life and from all over the world, hold that genetic engineering presents serious social and ecological questions that the proponents have not addressed adequately.

What is the truth then? Are GE foods safe? Are GE crops environmentally benign? Can biotechnology mitigate poverty and fight world hunger?

Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero, Oakland Institute's Fellow, explores the track record of genetic engineering in Biotech Crops and Foods: The Risks and Alternatives. Read More at http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/?q=node/view/336


miércoles, mayo 24, 2006

EEUU: indígenas protestan contra proyecto vampiro patrocinado por la National Geographic y la IBM

El proyecto Genográfico está copatrocinado por la National Geographic y la IBM. Pretende recolectar 100 mil muestras de sangre de personas indígenas de todo el mundo para estudiar la migración humana

Servindi, sábado 20 de mayo de 2006.- Un grupo de ciudadanos indígenas protestó hoy en la ciudad de New York contra el Proyecto Genográfico, al cual calificaron de proyecto vampiro por extraer muestras de sangre indígena para supuestos estudios.

El proyecto Genográfico está copatrocinado por la National Geographic y la IBM. Pretende recolectar 100 mil muestras de sangre de personas indígenas de todo el mundo para estudiar la migración humana.

- Escuche una breve justificación sobre el acto de protesta (2 min. 38 seg.) con un clik aquí- Escuche al lider napuche Nilo Cayuqueo sobre el proyecto del genoma humano (5 min. 48 seg) con un clik aquí

Vea mas fotos al final de esta información

Los delegados indígenas participantes en la protesta temen que el proyecto sea similar al proyecto de diversidad del genoma humana cuya finalidad oculta -según afirmaron- fue patentar secuencias genéticas con fines lucrativos.

La concentración de personas con pancartas se efectuó en las afueras del Hotel Milenio, mientras que un comité de delegados indígenas se reunía a las 3 de la tarde en dicho hotel con el Dr. Spencer Wells y otros representantes del Proyecto Genográfico.

La reunión fue auspiciada por Cultural Survival y en ella una comitiva indígena presentaría una petición firmada por 850 personas para suspender el proyecto. Anunciaron un llamado a boicotear todos los programas de la National Geographic, la IBM y la Gateway Computers de no ser atendida su pedido.

El proyecto tendrá diez centros regionales para la recolección de muestras de sangre y ADN que cubrirán todo el planeta pero no están asegurados los beneficios potenciales de estas investigaciones para los pueblos indígenas.

Voceros indígenas, participantes del V periodo sesiones del Foro Permanente, indicaron que el proyecto puede ignorar o despreciar el conocimiento indígena y menospreciar sus derechos. “Ellos te diran quién eres y de dónde eres, ignorando el conocimiento que existe sobre nosotros mismos y que forma parte de nuestra identidad” indicaron.

El formulario para obtener el consentimiento informado hace referencia a que pueden haber algunos resultados que contradigan una tradición oral, escrita o de otro tipo que tengan los aportantes de muestras o de miembros de su grupo.

A pesar de la naturaleza especulativa de la investigación genética de las historias humanas los resultados podrían ser usados por malos gobiernos para disminuir los derechos humanos y cuestionar el caracter originario de los pueblos. “La condición del ser indígena estaría no en la identidad de los pueblos sino en los resultados de laboratorio de unos científicos” indicaron algunos indígenas participantes de la acción.

“Se trata de una continuación del proyecto de genoma humano que tomó muestras de sangre, piel y cabellos de los indígenas para patentar secuencias genéticas y lucrar con sus propiedades” afirmó el lider mapuche Nilo Cayuqueo.

Centros de Investigación Regional del Proyecto Genográfico:
Este / Sudeste de AsiaLi Jin, Ph. D.Center for Anthropological StudiesS chool of Life SciencesFudan UniversityShangai (China)
IndiaRamasamy Pitchappan, Ph.D. Madurai Kamaraj University Tamil Nadu (India)
North AméricaTheodore Schurr, Ph. D.Laboratory of Molecular Anthrpology University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia (USA)
Sub-Saharan AfricaHimla Soodyall, Ph. D.Human Genomic Diversity / Disease Research National Health Laboratory ServiceUniversity of Witwatersrand Johannesburg (South África)
Western / Central Europe:Mitochondrial DNALluis Quintana-Murci, Ph. D.Unit of Molecualar Prevention / Therapy of Human Diseases Institut Pasteur Paris (France)
Australia / PacificRobert John Mitchell, Ph. D.Departmente of Genetics La Trobe University Melbourne (Australia)

Advisory Board Members:
North EurasiaElena Balanovska, Ph. D.Laboratory of Human Population GeneticsResearch Centre for Medical Genetics Moscow (Rusia)
Middle East / North AfricaPierre Zalloua, Ph. D.Department of Internal Medicine & Ob/GynAmerican University of Beirut Beirut (Lebanon)
South AmericaFabricio Santos, Ph. D.Laboratory of Human Population Genetics Research University Centre for Excellence in Genocic Sciences
Western / Central Europe: Y Chromosome Chris Tyler-Smith, Ph.D.The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Cambridge (UK)
Ancient DNAAlan Cooper, Ph.D.Division of Earth & Environmental Sciences University of Adelaide Adelaide (Australia)

Lea más información sobre el tema publicada en Servindi:
México: ¿A quién sirve el HapMap? Genética humana para transnacionales, por Silvia Ribeiro (25 noviembre 2005)- Brasil: La biopiratería humana como espectáculo, por Silvia Ribeiro (29 junio 2005)- América Latina: Indígenas en guardia ante Genográfico, por María Amparo Lasso (4 mayo 2005)

Más información:
Proyecto Genográfico- Proyecto de la Diversidad del Genoma Humano- Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism

Fuente: Servindi.org

Etiquetas: ,

Hawaiian Papaya GMO Contaminated

By Melanie Bondera & Mark Query

Hawaii SEED 2006, www.gmofreehawaii.org, May 24, 2006

Click here for the full 19 page report in Adobe PDF format http://www.gmofreemaui.com/press_releases/Contamination_Report.pdf


In 1998, the first GMO Papaya was commercially released into Hawaii's growing environment. Dr. Dennis Gonsalves and Dr. Richard Manshardt created this papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) resistant GMO fruit. Technology has come with too many strings attached and Hawaii has lost almost half of its papaya farmers.

Another unintended problem is GMO contamination. In 2003, GMO Free Hawaii became very concerned with the gene flow of the GMO Papaya. First, we used the GUS gene test to see how much contamination was on our farms and in our community. After consistently finding 30-50% of the seeds and leaves we tested having some kind of air or seed contamination, we wanted to know more. We put out calls for independent, peer-reviewed academic studies to examine the levels of this GMO Papaya contamination, to no avail. In 2004, GMO Free Hawaii designed a study to look at the extent of GMO contamination around the state.

The methodology of this Pilot Survey included three composite samples of approximately 10,000 seeds from around the islands (Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai) being collected from non-GMO growing locations such as organic and conventional farms, backyard gardens and feral roadsides. Two composite samples each of seeds and leaves from organic farms were collected on Hawaii and Kauai. Three samples of University of Hawaii non-GMO seed varieties were purchased directly. Seeds and leaves were sent to an independent laboratory, Genetic ID, for PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) industry standard testing.The results indicate massive GMO contamination of papaya seeds on Hawaii Island, of the order of 50%, substantial GMO contamination on Oahu (5%) and thankfully, only traces of contamination on Kauai (0.0%). Both organic farms tested had no GMO trees unintentionally planted, but sadly, were discovered to have air contamination of the seeds in their fruits (5% on Hawaii Island and 0.01% on Kauai). Most shocking was the GMO contamination of the University of Hawaii's non-GMO papaya seed supply (Waimanolo Solo variety) at greater than 0.01% but less than 0.1%.

In 2006, we repeated this last test and found the Waimanalo Solo to still be GMO contaminated at the same percentage. As the University of Hawaii claims not to be growing this seed near GMO Papaya trees, they must have untested GMO trees in their non-GMO orchards or not be bagging the flowers properly to keep out unwanted GMO pollen. The two main routes of GMO contamination appear to be air and seed contamination. Air contamination refers to GMO contamination of the seeds by GMO pollen flow traveling by wind, insect, animal or human. Flesh of the fruit may be non-GMO while any number of seeds inside may be GMO. Seed contamination refers to unintended GMO contamination of the traditional seed supply leading to unintended GMO trees, which have GMO leaves, fruit flesh, and at least three quarters GMO seeds. Most concerning has been the loss of lucrative export and organic markets caused by the GMO Papaya contamination leading to expensive testing and roguing to non-GMO Papaya growers. The University of Hawaii and Pacific Research Basin have responded inadequately to the news of our test results. Their insufficient attempts at follow-up studies have included testing too few UH seeds to provide statistically significant results, a pollen study by an undergraduate on the island with the least contamination and a promise of a study by Carol Gonsalves (Dr. Gonsalves' wife) that has not materialized. Promises of GUS testing for papayas being available to farmers and gardeners through the Cooperative Extension service have not materialized either. Finally, no attempts at GMO Papaya clean-up by the responsible institutions have been made, to date.Finally, this pilot study shows more GMO Papaya contamination than anyone expected.

Our recommendations include:

1. Governments around the globe should not introduce the GMO Papaya into any new growing regions. Even as a field trial, GMO Papaya cannot be contained.
2. Considering the adverse consequences of the GMO Papaya, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture should not commercially release any more GMO crops in Hawaii.
3. The University of Hawaii should clean up the GMO contamination in their non-GMO papaya seeds before selling any more.
4. GMO Papaya testing should be offered to Hawaii Island farmers and gardeners either free of charge or at a nominal cost by the University of Hawaii and PBARC/USDA (Pacific Basin Agriculture Research Center/United States Department of Agriculture), so they can rogue out GMO Papaya contamination.
5. Education about using traditional and alternative methods of Papaya ringspot virus management including introducing PRSV tolerant varieties should be actively offered to farmers by the University of Hawaii and PBARC/USDA.
6. An independent peer-reviewed study examining the full extent of the GMO Papaya contamination in Hawaii should be authorized by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
7. An independent peer-reviewed study examining the possible health effects on humans of the GMO Papaya consumption should be authorized by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.


The complete lack of forethought and recklessness with which the University of Hawaii released the Genetically Engineered Papaya into our pristine Hawaiian growing environment will be leaving us with devastating repercussions for generations to come. Walter Ritte, Native Hawaiian Activist, has called this part of the Mana Mahele, the division of the spirit of the land. They were enamored with a new technology and threw precaution to the wind when they released this self-replicating experiment into the wilds of nature and human caprice. The narrow confines of thought and regulation in the lab do not exist out here where we farmers grow. Our economics have a narrow margin and we are wisely conservative unlike our public institutions. We operate mostly at the mercy of Mother Nature and sometimes in partnership with her. Plants grow our products; we nurture the plants hopefully.

The narrow slice of the story portrayed by the University of Hawaii and Dr. Dennis Gonsalves'collaborators in promoting this untried, sketchy, new technology makes it sound like an unmitigated success. If they considered the implications of the GMO contamination they would wreak on Hawaii, they have even more to answer for than they already do. The loss of markets, contamination, and poor performance of this GMO plant are a lesson in withholding further field-testing and commercial release of GMO Papayas abroad and any GMO crop in Hawaii. As farmers, we were curious about what this plant was really doing in our growing environment, so we went out and figured out how to find these lost rogue genes and count them. One of the most frustrating aspects of this wave of GMO crops has been the misuse and abuse of science. This neutral tool, a way of knowing has been bought and used by both sides, such that we can no longer trust our institutions and their 'science' We look to the funder to predict the result. Farmers, citizens, and communities have begun taking science back into their own hands and Civic Science is born. We use this impartial technique to learn truth about our circumstances. The truth was in the trees:

Hawaii's Papayas are GMO Contaminated.

Click here for the full 19 page report in Adobe PDF format. http://www.gmofreemaui.com/press_releases/Contamination_Report.pdf


martes, mayo 23, 2006

Experimentos de Ventria en Perú

Información de Acción Ecológica (Ecuador):

Empresa Ventria experimenta con niños peruanos

La empresa Ventria ha experimentado con niños de pecho internados en el Instituto Especializado de Salud del Niño y el Instituto de Investigación Nutricional en Lima, Perú, para evaluar el efecto de un tipo de arroz transgénico con genes humanos. Ventria desarrolla un arroz farmacéutico para el tratamiento de diarrea aguda

Se hicieron estudios clínicos con unos 140 niños, elegidos al azar.

Nos preguntamos si las madres de los niños con los que se experimentó conocían todos los impactos que pueden enfrentar sus hijos al ser tratados con estos productos transgénicos, que no han sido aprobados en ningún país del mundo.

Esta es una prueba más de las aptitudes colonialistas que tienen las empresas estadounidenses con los países de América Latina, al utilizar a los niños de los países pobres en pruebas.


From the May/June 2006 issue of Technology Review:

Tiny Toxins?

Preliminary studies suggest that some types of nanoparticles might pose a health hazard. That's bad news for nanotechnology.

By Philip E. Ross

It was just the type of event that many in the nanotechnology community have feared -- and warned against. In late March, six people went to the hospital with serious (but nonfatal) respiratory problems after using a German household cleaning product called Magic Nano. Though it was unclear at the time what had caused the illnesses -- and even whether the aerosol cleaner contained any nanoparticles -- the events reignited the debate over the safety of consumer products that use nanotechnology.

The number of products fitting that description has now topped 200, according to a survey published in March by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies in Washington, DC. Among them are additives that catalyze combustion in diesel fuel, polymers used in vehicles, high-strength materials for tennis rackets and golf clubs, treated stain-resistant fabrics, and cosmetics. These products incorporate everything from buckyballs -- soccer ball-shaped carbon molecules named after Buckminster Fuller -- to less exotic materials such as nanoparticles of zinc oxide. But they all have one thing in common: their "nano" components have not undergone thorough safety tests.


lunes, mayo 22, 2006

Taken from MIT's Technology Review magazine:

Friday, May 19, 2006

This Is Your Brain on Nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes can send electrical signals to neurons and are being developed for retinal implants

By Katherine Bourzac

A branching neuron grown on a carpet of conductive single-wall carbon nanotubes. Researchers sent electrical signals to the neurons through the nanotubes, showing that the tubes might be a way to connect neurons to prosthetic devices. (Courtesy of Todd Pappas, University of Texas.)

Carbon nanotubes -- incredibly strong, electrically conductive, hollow molecules of carbon about a nanometer in diameter -- have for more than a decade been prized by materials scientists. They've added them to batteries to increase their surface area and are developing light-emitting nanotubes for telecommunications.

Now University of Texas researchers have demonstrated that mats of single-walled carbon nanotubes can communicate electrical signals to neurons, suggesting that the tubes could be used as an electrical interface between neural prosthetics -- devices used to replace damaged or missing nerves -- and the body. This is good news for those hoping to use nanotubes to stimulate or replace nerve cells in the eye, brain, and spinal cord.

The Texas researchers grew rat neurons on thick mats of carbon nanotubes seeded on flexible plastic sheets. Instead of treating the mats like a foreign surface, neurons take well to the nanotubes, says Todd Pappas, director of sensory and molecular neuroengineering at the University of Texas Medical Branch, who led the research. The nanotubes absorb an important neural protein and form a roughly textured carpet on which nerves grow readily. When Pappas and colleagues at Rice University sent an electrical charge across the sheet, the neurons responded with an electrical signal of their own, called an action potential, indicating that they got the message.