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Old 09-10-2003, 03:22 PM
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Default A Danger to the World's Food: Genetic Engineering and the Economic Interests of the Life Science

"Peter Ashby" wrote in message
In article ,
"pearl" wrote:

'The release of transgenic crops into the environment has raised
concerns over the spread of transgenic DNA, not only by cross-
pollination to related species, but especially by horizontal gene
transfer to unrelated species (reviewed by Ho et al (1) and
Traavik (2)). On account of the _persistence_ of DNA in all
environments, and the ability of practically all cells to take up
'naked' or free DNA, the success of horizontal gene transfer may
depend largely on the nature of the DNA itself. New revelations
concerning the CaMV recombination hotspot (3) have prompted
us to consider the safety implications of the CaMV promoter.
That is all the more urgent as CaMV promoter is in practically
all transgenic crops already released commercially or undergoing
field trials.

It is clear that the CaMV 35S promoter is well-endowed with
motifs involved in recombination. An additional factor which
may increase the instability of the plasmid is the junction between
CaMV 35S promoter and foreign DNA. All these considerations
make it highly likely that the CaMV 35S promoter will take part
in horizontal gene transfer and recombination, and also cause
largescale genomic rearrangements in the process.

Horizontal transfer of the CaMV promoter not only contributes
to the known instability of transgenic lines (30), but has the
potential to reactivate dormant viruses or creating new viruses in
all species to which it is transferred, particularly in view of the
modularity and interchangeability of promoter elements (8). In
this regard, the close relationship of CaMV to hepadnaviruses
such as the human hepatitis B is especially relevant. In addition,
because the CaMV promoter is promiscuous in function (see
above), it has the possibility of promoting inappropriate over-
expression of genes in all species to which it happens to be
transferred. One consequence of such inappropriate over-
expression of genes may be cancer. ....'

Good grief have these people no basic biology?

Mae-Wan Ho, and Angela Ryan, of the Biology Department,
Open University, Walton Hall Milton Keynes, UK, and Joe
Cummins Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of Western
Ontario, Ontario, Canada? Of course they know biology.

Firstly they seem to
confer magical malicious properties on a promoter sequence. So it might
recombine? so might many thousands of other sites all over the
integrated genome, including endogenous retroviruses. There is nothing
there to suggest A) that this promoter would recombine preferentially
compared with endogenous viral promoters in the plant genome. or B) that
this magically malicious promoter would be able to do anything once
recombined. As an analogy, is an isolated light switch lying on a bench,
not connected to anything dangerous? No, so why should a promoter
sequence be? Both are switches, not effectors.

'Double-stranded DNA break repair (DSBR) is recognized to be
involved in the illegitimate recombination which enables plasmid DNA
to integrate into plant genomes following plant transformation (22-23);
and transgene rearrangements have been identified in both
Agrobacterium-mediated transformation (24) and particle bombardment
(25). Illegitimate recombination was also observed between a resident
transgene in a transgenic tobacco plant and a newly delivered transgene
(26). Illegitimate recombination involves sequences with either
microhomology or no homology between the junctions, often resulting in
filler DNA and deletions of nucleotides from one or both of the recombining
ends (27).

Kohli et al (3) analysed 12 multicopy transgenic rice lines transformed
with a co-integrate plasmid by means of particle bombardment in order
to investigate the fate of exogenous transforming DNA. They not only
discovered the same kind of illegitimate recombination between plasmids,
but also that many of the illegitimate recombinations were located to the
CaMV 35S promoter hotspot previously identified (19, 20). Furthermore,
recombination occurred at high frequency without the virally encoded
reverse transcriptase or other enzymes, suggesting that plant factors can
direct recombination events by recognising and using these highly
recombinogenic viral sequences. ..........'

This is
scaremongering masquerading as science, pure and simple.

References (to excerpts in this post);

1. Ho, M.W., Traavik, T., Olsvik, R., Tappeser, B., Howard,
V., von Weizsacker, C. and McGavin, G. (1998). Gene
Technology and Gene Ecology of Infectious Diseases.
Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 10, 33-59.
2. Traavik, T. (1999). Too Early May Be Too Late. Ecological
Risks Associated with the Use of Naked DNA as a Biological
Tool for Research, Production and Therapy (Norwegian),
Report for the Directorate for Nature Research Tungasletta 2,
7005 Trondheim.
3. Kohli, A., Griffiths, S., Palacios, N., Twyman, R.M., Vain,
P., Laurie, D.A. and Christou, P. (1999). Molecular
characterization of transforming plasmid rearrangements in
transgenic rice reveals a recombination hotspot in the CaMV 35S
promoter and confirms the predominance of microhomology
mediated recombination. The Plant Journal 17, 591-601.

30. Ho, M.W. and Steinbrecher, R. (1998). Fatal flaws in food
safety assessment. Environmental and Nutritional Interactions 2,
8. Hohn, T. and Fütterer, J. (1992). Transcriptional and
translational control of gene expression in cauliflower mosaic
virus. Curr. Op. Genet. Develop. 2, 90-96.

24. Deroles, S.C. and Gardner, R.C. (1988). Analysis of the
T-DNA structure in a large number of transgenic petunias
generated by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation.
Plant Mol. Biol. 11, 365-377.
25. Register, J.C., Peterson, D.J., Bell, P.J., et al (1994).
Structure and function of selectable and non-selectable
transgenes in maize after introduction by particle bombardment.
Plant Mol. Biol. 25, 951-961.
26. De Groot, M.J., Offringa, R., Groet,J., Does, M.J., Van
Hooykaas, P.J. and Danelzen, P.J. (1994). Non-recombinant
background in gene targetting. Illegitimate recombination
between htp gene and defective 5’-deleted nptII gene can
restore a Kmr phenotype in tobacco. Plant Mol. Biol. 25,
27. Gorbunov, V. and Levy, A.A. (1997). Non-homologous
DNA and joining in plants cells is associated with deletions and
filler DNA insertions. Nucl. Acid Res. 25, 4650-4657.

3. Kohli, A., Griffiths, S., Palacios, N., Twyman, R.M., Vain,
P., Laurie, D.A. and Christou, P. (1999). Molecular
characterization of transforming plasmid rearrangements in
transgenic rice reveals a recombination hotspot in the CaMV
35S promoter and confirms the predominance of microhomology
mediated recombination. The Plant Journal 17, 591-601.
19. Vaden, V.R. and Melcher, U. (1990). Recombination sites
in cauliflower mosaic virus DNAs: implications for mechanisms
of recombination. Virology 177, 717-726.
20. Gal, S., Pisan, B., Hohn, T., Grimsley, N. and Hohn, B. (1991).
Genomic homologous recombination in planta. EMBO J. 10,

The article is based on research. Why are you lying, Peter?

You may want to
look further at the source to find why too. Not exactly unbiased.

Ok.. 'The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee was
formed in October 2000 from the Departments of Anatomy
and Physiology, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences and Chemistry.
These Departments were dissolved and replaced by eight Research
Divisions and a Teaching Unit. The School is housed in five buildings
on the University Campus, namely the Wellcome Trust Biocentre
(WTB), the Medical Sciences Institute (MSI), the Biological Sciences
Institute (BSI), the Old Medical School (OMS) and the Carnelley
Building. Completed in 1997, the WTB is the most recent addition,
being built and equipped with donations totalling nearly £14 million.
This includes £10 million from The Wellcome Trust (thought to be
the largest single charitable donation ever given to Scotland).

Current research grants awarded from non-University sources
are £23 million per annum mainly from the Wellcome Trust, the
UK Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the
National Environmental Research Council, The Royal Society
of London and a number of Pharmaceutical companies. '

('The merger of Wellcome plc with Glaxo plc in 1995 left The
Trust with a 4.7% stake in the new company, Glaxo-Wellcome
plc. ' )

Masters of the universities
Monday September 11, 2000
The Guardian

For most of the 20th century, scientists in British universities
were discouraged from engaging with industry, for fear that
such contact would persuade them to concentrate on immediate
technological needs rather than on the more profound scientific
questions. Today, by contrast, contact between government-
funded researchers and industry is, in effect, compulsory in
many departments. The result is that there is scarcely a university
in the UK whose academic freedom has not been compromised
by its funding arrangements.
The main source of funds for biologists working in Britain's
universities is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research
Council (BBSRC), a government body with an annual budget of
£190m. Its chairman is Peter Doyle, formerly an executive director
of the biotechnology company Zeneca. Among the members of its
council are the chief executive of the pharmaceutical firm Chiroscience;
the former director of research and development at the controversial
food company Nestlé; the president of the Food and Drink
Federation; a consultant to the biochemical industry; and the general
manager of Britain's biggest farming business. The BBSRC's strategy
board contains executives from SmithKline Beecham, Merck Sharpe
& Dohme and AgrEvo UK.

The research council has seven specialist committees, each overseeing
the dispersal of money to different branches of biology. Employees of
Zeneca, according to the council's website, sit on all of them. When
the BBSRC was established in 1994, it took over the biological funding
programme previously run by the Science and Engineering Research
Council (SERC). SERC's purpose was to advance knowledge of all
kinds, whether or not it had an immediate commercial application. The
BBSRC's purpose, it maintains, "is to sustain a broad base of
interdisciplinary research and training to help industry, commerce and
government create wealth and improve the quality of life".

As well as diverting large sums of public money which would once
have been spent on blue-sky biological research into genetic engineering,
the BBSRC also funds the secondment of academics into corporations.
Such schemes, the council enthuses, help "companies establish long-
lasting personal and corporate linkages with academics/higher education
institutions" and to "influence basic research relevant to company
objectives". The council has launched a Biotechnology Young
Entrepreneurs Scheme, "aimed at encouraging a more entrepreneurial
attitude in bioscientists". It has paid for researchers to work for Nestlé,
Unilever, Glaxo Wellcome, SmithKline Beecham, AgrEvo, DuPont,
Rhone-Poulenc and, of course, Zeneca. ',00.html .

But you wouldn't put humans, animals and the ecosystem
at risk just for funding, and your career, would you. ?


Peter Ashby
School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland
To assume that I speak for the University of Dundee is to be deluded.
Reverse the Spam and remove to email me.