[To contribute to this conference, send your message to
For further information on the Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and
Agriculture see Forum website.
NB - participants are assumed to be speaking on their own behalf, unless they state otherwise.]
Sent: 24 June 2002 09:41
Subject: 70: Putting hands together to fight hunger
[Thanks to Doctor Badr from Egypt for this message about the GM perspective
in developing countries.
NB - We are now in the last week of this e-mail conference. In this last week, we especially encourage those who have not yet done so, to share your views and experiences with us on the potential importance and impact of gene flow from genetically modified (GM) crops, forest trees, fish or animals to non-GM populations (with particular focus on developing countries). The last day for sending messages to the conference is June 28th...Moderator]
In developing countries, the GM research has been done (1) individually (with the lowest facilities), so you can find great numbers of research needed to be applied (2) few supported projects. The second was better because of the presence of facilities and funds, in addition to the organized work which covers different research aspects. The disadvantage of supported research is the presence of some kind of stress to direct the research result for the benefit of the company or group. As an example, if a company produces a product, it may support research to say that it is good product. This is the danger of non ethical work (you can watch this in some TV advertisements to encourage a product). This is one of the points that people fears from foreign GM food.
In the case of my country (a fast growing country (FGC)) with great agricultural projects in the east (El-Owainat), west (Elwady and desert), south (toushky) turned the desert to green carpets, modern green houses supported with high technology. All this is accompanied with industrial projects. Most of these are private, companies can support its research and play a part in technology transfer and gene flow. The biotechnology research in universities and agricultural institutes is increasing, using available facilities (a US company bought a GM product for insects with more than hundred million dollar from the GE institute). This may reflect the progress. On the other hand, the individual researchers suffer from the lack of facilities and fund.
The desire of collecting money may stress some companies to close eyes and accept the non-examined GMOs or food, so there must be something to certificate GM products - similar to ISO. The researchers must put the needed limitations and tests. No GM research would be applied without this certification FROM INTERNATIONALLY TRUSTED PEOPLE INCLUDING REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE SAME COUNTRY in different fields for supporting economical and ecological aspects. This may make people trust GM tested products and control research ethics.
The conference is about to end, but the voice of the developing and least developed countries is still low and non heard. This may due to the lack of computers, the expensive internet costs, the people are not announced or scientists are busy. (I mean that because a scientist in such a country is a scientist lover, he spends all his time in the laboratory and spends his own money on research, because this is the only way to complete). I hope to hear these voices which need support from developed countries. What confuses me, is their biotechnological research in countries that suffer hunger, where they have no food, no houses, no milk for kids. We are still away, but still can help putting hands together to fight hunger.
Dr Aisha, A. A. Badr
Tropical Fruit Division
Alexandria Horticultural Research Station
momidic (at) hotmail.com
Sent: 24 June 2002 09:45
Subject: 71: Gene flow risk assessment - plants
This is Tom Nickson with a quick response to Dr. Muir's comment in message 69 (June 22).
In message 24 (June 7), I was very careful to use the term "biotech products" in a precise manner. By product, I meant only the few biotech plants that have completed the regulatory process and are currently being marketed somewhere in the world. This term was carefully chose to avoid overstatement for the reason that Dr. Muir notes.
Work with Brassica napus, and newer work emerging with sunflowers, is showing in experimental field trials a potential for the Bt gene to confer a fitness advantage in wild relatives. A thorough risk assessment would have to carefully evaluate the potential for this altered property of the transgenic plant to confer a hazard. The hazard assessment would have to take into consideration the receiving environment.
Thomas E. Nickson, Ph.D.
Ecological Technology Center
Monsanto Company, V2B
800 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63141
thomas.nickson (at) monsanto.com
Sent: 24 June 2002 09:49
Subject: 72: Population genetic mathematical models
This is from Dr Wayne Knibb. I am a geneticist (population and molecular biologist) working on aquacultured species.
There have been suggestions (message 69, and previous) that population genetic mathematical models can predict the probability that genes will spread into the environment. Unfortunately, because of simplifying assumptions required to operate population genetic models (e.g. assumptions of no evolution and selection of modifiers, no genetic by environment (GxE) interactions), these mathematical models inherently are of little or no predictive use in real world situations. Indeed, some question whether population genetic mathematical modelling can (ever) predict fitness and evolution (Barton and Turelli 1989).
Barton, N.H. and Turelli, M. 1989. Evolutionary quantitative genetics: How little do we know? Ann. Rev. Genet. 23, 337-370
Dr Wayne Knibb
Principal Research Scientist
Bribie Island Aquaculture Research Centre
144 North Street, Woorim
PO Box 2066
Bribie Island Queensland 4507
Ph (07) 34002000 / 2052
e-mail: wayne.knibb (at) dpi.qld.gov.au