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MONTHLY REVIEW AUGUST 2005 (4/9/2005)

from Claire Robinson, editor
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+ GM CROPS PIPELINE DRYING UP
Worldwide data shows that the pipeline of GM crops undergoing research is drying up even in the US, the global leader in GM crop research.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5626

+ GM GENES IN MEXICAN MAIZE JUST DISAPPEAR!
Researchers David Quist and Ignacio Chapela famously found that native Mexican maize in Oaxaca had been contaminated by GM genes. Now, new research has apparently found that the contamination has simply "disappeared".

After analyzing seeds from about 870 plants in Oaxaca in 2003 and 2004, researchers from Mexico and the US say in a paper that appeared online in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that they found no evidence of transgenes in these indigenous varieties.

The research has been heavily spun with the lead researcher, Allison Snow, a professor at Ohio State University, claiming that findings based on 870 plants from one part of Mexico mean, "Mexican farmers who don't want transgenes in their crops will be relieved to find out that these uninvited genes seem to have disappeared."

Ignacio Chapela says, "It's very difficult to believe that contamination has disappeared. Barely two years after we said we found it, they say it's gone. One of those two statements has to be wrong."

And it wasn't only Chapela who said the contamination was there. Two other studies pointed to widespread contamination.

What's also surprising is that among the researchers saying the contamination has simply disappeared are people who only a year ago were publicly saying there was contamination!

Quist and Chapela have pointed out, "three of the authors in this paper have made many categorical public representations prior to this paper which lie in diametrical contradiction to the negative results paper presented in PNAS. Although their statements were never published in a peer-reviewed journal, we must presume that those contradictory categorical statements were based on real samples and analyses."

Chapela, who is planning a rebuttal, says he believes that the new study, far from showing the absence of transgenes, "simply defined the problem away," setting the threshold for positive findings artificially high through the use of a standard favoured by industry for reasons all its own. Whether the evidence of contamination meets such a standard, he maintains, is "not a biological question. It's a commercial question, it's a political question, it's a question of trade and so on.…Part of my rebuttal is the fact that they actually saw signs of [transgenes], and they put it in the paper and then they say there's nothing there. So it's kind of crazy."
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2005/09/01_chapela.shtml
Abstract of the paper
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5599
Articles and press releases:
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5597
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5586
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5589
Quist and Chapela's initial reponse:
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5599

+ EXCELLENT PROFILE OF CHAPELA
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2005/09/01_chapela.shtml

+ SCIENTISTS WARN OF GM SUPERWEED RISK
Scientists at the State University and the Southern Weed Research Unit in Mississippi have identified 15 weed species that are resistant to Roundup - the herbicide widely used on Monsanto's GM crops - and are warning farmers they may become a serious problem unless a strategy for dealing with them is developed.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5622
See also ATTACK OF THE 12-FOOT HORSEWEED!
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5591

+ ROUNDUP READY ALFALFA WORRIES GROWERS
Alfalfa growers in Mid-Columbia, Washington say they aren't ready to grow Roundup Ready alfalfa because they're worried that if they do their export markets in Japan could ban Washington hay.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5578

+ FIRST U.S. GM LABELING LAW PASSED IN ALASKA
Alaska has signed into law the nation's first labeling legislation for GM food. Senate Bill 25 requires that GM fish be "conspicuously labeled to identify the fish or fish product as a genetically modified fish or fish product".
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5575

+ GM PLANTS USE CARBON NANOFIBRES
Researchers at at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the US Dept of Energy lab that played a major role in the production of enriched uranium for the atom bombs dropped on Japan, are developing new techniques that use carbon nanofibres for smuggling foreign DNA into cells. Carbon nanofibres have been compared to asbestos fibres because they have similar shapes. Initial toxicity studies on some carbon nanofibres have demonstrated inflammation of cells.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5611

+ BT MAIZE HAS INFERIOR YIELD - STUDY
New research from Canada shows that Bt maize produces similar or up to 12% lower yields than non-Bt maize. The study, by B.L. Ma and K.D. Subedi and published in Field Crops Research, also found that
***non-Bt maize showed higher nitrogen uptake.
***some of the Bt hybrids took 2-3 additional days to reach maturity.
***the Bt maize had 3-5% higher grain moisture at maturity. This may prove significant since grain having higher than 15.5% moisture is subject to spoilage due to moulds (the dreaded aflatoxins, which the likes of Denis and Alex Avery are always trying to claim, without ANY evidence, are a particular problem with organic foods).
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5620

+ EU AUTHORIZES GM MAIZE BY LEGAL RUBBER STAMP
The EU has authorized imports of GM maize MON863, the third GM product to win approval since the EU ended its unofficial ban last year. A feeding study of MON863 maize on rats showed significant differences regarding kidney structures and levels of white blood cells between rats fe

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