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Genetically modified crops - February issue

douglas dwyer doug at ddwyer.demon.co.uk
Tue Feb 2 04:49:30 EST 1999

In article <el#jyQhT#GA.264 at nih2naaf.prod2.compuserve.com>, Nigel
Colborn <NColborn at compuserve.com> writes
>but risk of escape of genetically nobbled material into
>wild gene pools.  Who knows what the consequences of that might be, to all
>life, including, just to stop this reply being totally off topic, birds.

At the risk of remaining off topic;
The first risk is the spread of genetic material by cross pollenisation
second, described below,  gets less publicity but in my opinion is at
least equal importance:

A proper study should be done done to establish an appropriate
level of screening for any genetically altered material that is going to
be consumed by a large proportion of the population. My opinion is that
the level of screening should be as thorough as that required
for a new "drug". 

The new bits of genetic material are seldom from traditional food
sources  and, for example,  may bring unexpected toxins and
their side effects. The cumulative effects of some of these unknown
materials on a high proportion of the population including expectant
mothers must be of particular concern. 

A trivial risk assesment indicates that there is a very small chance
of disaster to a large proportion of the population with every new GAF,
the problem is that "very samll risk" may be multiplied by 10000 new
GAFs over the next 25 years, incidently the advantage to the individual
from any one GAF will be minute, however the advantage to the corporate
entity introducing the GAF may be sufficient to cause it to
adverse advice from technical staff.
douglas dwyer

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