AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY


Websites           *           Books&Journals           *
Example in agricultural biotechnology: bovine somatotropin (BST)  *
Example in Agricultural Biotechnology: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)

a. Websites
www.iisd.ca/sd/har/index.html

Biotechnology and Global Economy Conference homepage. It includes interviews (audio) with keynote and other speakers, abstracts and viewpoints on conference sessions, and good links to other pages. In viewpoints there is one editorial, "Food and Culture of Biotechnology" that equates biotechnology with death. In the interviews there is discussion of intellectual property, the benefits for developing countries, and how to guide biotechnology and policy development.

www.biotech-info.net/gordon_conway.html
This is a transcript of a speech by Gordon Conway, "The Rockefeller Foundation and Plant Biotechnology." It addresses the backlash against plant biotechnology, how development in third world countries is poorly equipped for rapid change, the 'terminator technology,' food security in a globalized world, actions to improve research and development in developing countries, and devising a new way to talk about biotechnology.

www.usda.gov/news/releases/1999/07/0285
An address by Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glidman, "New Crops, New Century, New Challenges." It covers regulation, consumer acceptance, fairness to farmers, corporate citizenship, and free and open trade.

www.pathfinder.com/time/daily/special/genetics/index.html
This is Time Magazine's genetics special coverage. Written in layman's terms, covering the usual fair on ethics, but also includes some business aspects. It includes articles on bioengineered corn with Baccillus thuringiensis that may be killing monarch butterflies (...time/magazine/articles/0,3266,25411,00.html), antibiotics fed to chickens may be leading to drug resistant infections in humans (...time/magazine/articles/0,3266,25690,00.html), and the monetary worth of a gene (...time/daily/special/genetics/business.html).

www.bio.com
Includes news, events, industry guide, academic information, organizations, government regulations, career information, and featured articles. Not all links are hot. Medically centered news. Also includes a list of online journals and periodicals under academics.

marlin.utmb.edu/~jwhill/
Has an on-line journal index that has browsable contents.

www.nal.usda.gov/bic/Bilios/
Is the searchable bibliography of information available at the Biotechnology Information Center (BIC). The extension .../bioeduc.htm includes print resources, equipment resources, internet material, and an author-subject index of the printed sources list. Education resources more pertinent to secondary education. Also lists biotechnology dictionaries, most recent from 1993.

www.bio.org
This site is a biotech company organization. Under the education link it has a timeline of biotechnology, education resources, lists of academic and research sites from A to Z, lists of databases, maps, and tools, patient and professional groups, and a career guide. They also have press releases and industry news, member company profiles, a business development directory, a library link listing internet journals and a couple hardcopy sources. The media guide link seems to be the most comprehensive compilation of general biotech. information. There are also links for ethics, therapies, food and agriculture, and other industry group sites.

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b. Books and Journals

Boulter, D. 1999. Public perception of science and associated general issues for the scientists. Phytochemistry. 50(1): 1-7.

Foote, R.H. 1998. Artificial insemination to cloning: tracing 50 years of research. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.

Holland, A. and A. Johnson, eds. 1998. Animal biotechnology and ethics. NY: Chapman and Hall. 1st edition.

Persidis, Aris. 1999. Agricultural Biotechnology. Nature Biotechnology. 17(6): 612-14.

Melnick, R. 1999. Follow the money trail. American Vegetable Grower. 7(6): 58.

Greenleaf, Cynthia. Not your father's agriculture. American Vegetable Grower. 7(6): 58.

Thompson, Paul B. 1997/98. Report of the NABC ad-hoc committee on ethics. Jo. of Agriculture and Environmental Ethics. 10(2): 105-25.

Fox, J.L. 1999. EPA Biotechnology rule reviewed yet again. Nature Biotech. 17(5): 415.

Baker, Beth. 1999. A new advisory panel will help USDA tackle thorny issues raised by agricultural biotechnology. Bioscience. 49(6): 438.
Abstract: US Dept of Agriculture Sec Dan Glickman has announced the creation of a panel tasked to advise him on concerns associated with the creation, use, and trade of agricultural biotechnology. The advisory panel will also examine issues related to pest resistance and gene escapes.

Miller, H.I. 1999. The real curse of Frankenfood. Nature Biotech. 17(2): 113.

Kerby, N.W. 1999. Intellectual property rights in agricultural biotechnology. Exper. Agric. 35(2): 240-1. Book Review.

Food for thought. The Economist (US), June 19, 1999 351(8124):19
Abstract: The genetic modification of food and agricultural crops is an important
step in the future of food production and supplies. Consumers fear this process
because it alters with the natural aspects of the food, but more modifications with
good results is imperative to calming these fears so this important progress and
continue into the future.

Anbarasan, Ethirajan 1999. Dead-end seeds yield a harvest of revolt. (creation of genetically altered seeds that do not germinate once fully grown) UNESCO Courier, p37.
Abstract: Biotechnologists have developed a technique called 'Technology Protection System' (TPS) that creates genetically altered seeds that do not germinate once fully grown. Farmers in developing countries protest the commercialization of TPS since this threatens their 'plant back' rights.

Reynolds, R.W. 1999. Agricultural Biotechnology: opportunities and risks. USA Today. 128(2650):54.
Abstract: Biotechnology is the technique of enhancing genetic information. It is the solution to overpopulation, underdevelopment, and environmental degradation. Can address concerns about environmental impacts of current agricultural practices. Factors of species "takeovers" and pest control overreach could lead to ecosystem damage. (VP in Monsanto Co.)

Ives, Anthony R. ; D.N. Alstad; D.A. Andow. 1996. Evolution of insect resistance to Bacillus
thuringiensis-transformed plants. Science, 273(5280):1412.
Abstract: A model for combating the evolution of corn borer resistance to Bacillus
thuringiensis toxins engineered into crops is criticized. The efficacy of altering the
distribution of toxin-containing plants in fields is doubted. A reply is included.

Mitten, Donna H., Rob MacDonald, Dirk Klonus. 1999. Regulation of foods derived from genetically engineered crops [Review] Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 10:298-302.
Abstract: The application of biotechnology to agricultural production has resulted in a number of whole and processed foods in the world marketplace today. The primary safety evaluation and subsequent approval for the commercialization of these products occurs within the national framework of the producing country. As these products have entered international trade, additional safety assessments may or may not be required in accordance with the importing nations' regulations. There is a growing gap created by the increasing numbers of products cleared for commercial production in North America and the longer period of review for pre-market approval in Europe. The multi-lateral agreements that guide international trade and the changing national regulations directed to food derived from genetically modified organism (GMO) crops are not in harmony. Increased agricultural production of GMO crops has placed certain commodities on the world market that some trading partners are not prepared to receive. It is the intent of this review to identify the regulatory bodies that must ultimately work together to ensure a safe food supply and respond to consumer concerns, and to provide an overview of the current rules and regulations that address foods derived from GMO crops. http://www.current-opinion.com/display.asp?file=subjects/jbio/main.htm

Omenn, Gilbert S. 1999. Regulatory frameworks and decisions matter to the development of biotechnology and the approvals for biotechnology products [Editorial overview]. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 10:287-288.
Abstract: The most crucial general policy decision by regulatory agencies in the United States, Europe, Japan, and other countries dealing with diverse products from biotechnology is whether to regulate the product or the process. In the late 1970s, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stimulated by the Industrial Applications Subcommittee of the Interagency Recombinant DNA Advisor Committee, determined that various kinds of therapeutic agents synthesized with techniques of genetic engineering or biotechnology would be reviewed for purity, safety, and efficacy, just like their counterpart therapeutic agents. No presumptions of special hazards and no additional protocols for biotechnology methods would be laid on [1]. http://www.current-opinion.com/display.asp?file=subjects/jbio/main.htm

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c. Example in Agricultural Biotechnology: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)

US groups sue over approval of BT crops... 1999. Nature. 397(6721): 636.

Steyer, Robert. "Mycogen sues Monsanto over patents." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 24, 1996, sec. Business. p. 7C

Feder, Barnaby J. "Geneticists Arm Corn Against Corn Borer But Pest May Still Win."
New York Times, July 23, 1996, sec. C, p. 1
Abstract: Resistance to Bt is being combated by using a high dose of Bt and providing refuges for the normal population in order to "breed out" survivors of the high Bt dose. Problems they are facing include maintaining the activity level of Bt throughout the plants life, the specificity of effectiveness, the lack of studies on pests, and insect movement.

Steyer, Robert. "Judge backs Monsanto in suit; Rejects rival's claim of patent infringement." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 6, 1996, sec. Business, p. 7A

Dalin, Shera. "Monsanto wins patent suit filed by rival; Ovartis sought $ 194 M in corn seed dispute." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 10, 1998, sec. Business, p. C6

Groves, Martha. "California; Group to sue EPA over risks of using BT insecticide." Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1999, sec. Business, p.2

Howe, Kenneth. "All is Fair in the War on Crop-eating Insects." San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4/1994, sec. Business, p. D5
Abstract: Bt was developed in France in the 1920's to combat the flour moth. It is a spore-forming microorganism that produces proteins that destroy insects' stomachs. There are 30 subspecies. Researches are splicing Bt into tomatoes.

Riordan, Teresa. "Patents; A Biotechnology Company Uses Bacteria to make Crops Unappetizing to Certain Insects," New York Times, Jan. 23, 1995, sec. D, p. 2
Abstract: Mycogen Corporation patented Bt. They changed about 10% of the nucleotides of the Bt protein, without changing the structure in order to keep the same protein but make it appear more like a plant protein. Each Bt strain targets specific species, including caterpillars, mosquitoes, fly larvae, beetles, and nematodes. Mycogen, Monsanto, Ciba-Geigy, and Calgene all applied for Bt patents.

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d. Example in agricultural biotechnology: bovine somatotropin (BST)
Husted, Amanda. "Health Watch FDA approves sale of milk hormone," Atlanta Journal and Constitution, January 6, 1994, sec. D, p.4
Abstract: The Clinton administration is supporting the sale of a genetically engineered hormone that enhances milk production in cows, saying it is safe and will make milk cheaper for consumers. BST - recombinant bovine somatotropin - was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 5, but Congress imposed a 90-day moratorium that ends Feb. 3. on selling the hormone. A report by the Office of Management and Budget found there is no evidence the hormone poses a health threat to people or to cows.

Walsh, James. "Moratorium ending on milk hormone; How to label BST dairy products is unclear" Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), February 1, 1994, sec. News, p. 1B
Abstract: Minnesota dairy farmers and those across the country can begin injecting their milk cows this weekend with an engineered hormone that boosts milk production, as a congressional moratorium on its sale ends Thursday. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has approved a label indicating that a product is free of synthetic BST that a Wisconsin cheese maker plans to use by week's end. Officials say Minnesota and other states likely will follow suit. But Minnesota Department of Agriculture officials say no one has yet approached them about using a BST-free label. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will send out guidelines for the voluntary labeling of dairy products by the end of the week, guidelines that government officials hope will provide information without "alarming the consumer."

Blythman, Joanna. "The milking of the cash cow; Should big business deliver us a genetically-engineered pinta? Joanna Blythman thinks not," Independent (London), January 29, 1994, sec. Weekend, p. 32
Abstract: In Europe, however, the authorities have so far imposed a series of moratoriums on its sale. Three issues have blocked the progress of the hormone's manufacturers. The first is the argument that, when overproduction is generating unwanted milk supplies which we attempt to control through quotas, a drug such as BST is contrary to agricultural policy objectives. The second is animal welfare. The third is that consumers do not want it.

Steyer, Robert. How Monsanto will sell BST to U.S. farmers; 'I've never heard of another
product marketed like this' St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 2, 1994, sec. Business, p. 8C
Summary: Unique. Unusual. Unprecedented. These are the words dairy experts use to describe Monsanto Co.'s revolutionary marketing campaign for a revolutionary farm product.

Schneider, Keith. "F.D.A. Warns the Dairy Industry Not to Label Milk Hormone-Free," New York Times, February 8, 1994, Sec. A, p.1

Byrne, Dennis. "Spilled Milk on Bovine Hormone," Chicago Sun-Times, February 8, 1994, Editorial, p. 24

Day, Kathleen "Where Did the Milk Come From? Tracking Dairy Hormone May Prove Impossible," Washington Post, February 13, 1994, Sec. 1, p. A1

Rifkin, Jeremy "This stuff is dangerous," USA TODAY, February 14, 1994, sec. News, p. 12A
Abstract: Consumers need to be alerted that this genetically engineered hormone is a serious potential health threat to themselves and their families. The industry claims milk from hormone-treated cows is identical to other milk. Don't believe it.

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