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2006-11-30 |

Peanut gene breakthrough may lead to allergen free nuts

Scientists have identified a new gene in peanuts that codes for a protein with no apparent allergic effects, research that opens up the possibility of allergen-free GM nuts. The identification of the new gene, called ara h 3-im, by researchers from the University of Florida offers some hope for estimated 2.5 million people in Europe and the US now vulnerable to the food allergy. "If it is true that Ara h 3-im has lower allergenic properties than other Ara h 3 proteins, this study may provide the information necessary to produce a hypoallergenic peanut through silencing of the major allergens and selecting for the reduced allergenic polypeptides via mutational breeding and/or genetic engineering," wrote authors I-H Kang and M. Gallo.

2006-11-30 |

Contaminated rice dumped in Freetown, Sierra Leone

America, Vietnam, Canada and Argentina, according to report, have exported quantities of bags of contaminated rice to Sierra Leone for consumption. This disclosure was made by Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) through Friends of the Earth Sierra Leone (FOESL), at a press briefing over the weekend at the Robert Street Community Centre, in order to sensitize press men and the general public on the awkward development. Speaking, Executive Director – FOESL, Olatunde Johnson, revealed that they are launching the result of the sample-testing of the Genetically Modified (GM) rice now dumped in Sierra Leone. This sample-test on the importation of GM rice, Johnson said, was done in September, this year, when news of rice contamination broke out in Europe and West Africa. He further disclosed that they have discovered that rice imported into Sierra Leone from America, Vietnam and other notorious countries was contaminated because it is genetically modified rice.

2006-11-30 |

Flood-tolerant rice could aid environment

Inside a greenhouse on the UC Davis campus, a group of rice plants is defying conventional farming wisdom and thriving in a formerly life-threatening environment - under water. A new variety of flood-tolerant rice soon could make its way from the lab to the field, offering California rice farmers and environmental advocates a potential weapon against both crop-ravaging weeds and water pollution. The research is the product of a 20-year-old collaboration between UCD, UC Riverside and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. The team isolated a gene within certain traditional rice plants that allows them to survive complete submergence. Researchers then cloned the gene and implanted it into commercially viable rice plants.

2006-11-30 |

USA Rice issues action plan to eliminate genetically engineered traits from rice supply

ARLINGTON, VA, November 28, 2006 — The USA Rice Federation today released a recommended plan of action to remove genetically engineered rice from the U.S. supply to re-establish a marketable supply of U.S. rice. Following U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Mike Johanns’ August 18, 2006, announcement of the trace presence of genetically engineered (GE) rice in the commercial supply, the USA Rice Federation has worked with industry and government officials to identify the Bayer CropScience Liberty Link traits and to mitigate their market effects. "The action plan released today proposes urgent, concrete steps to be taken to restore market confidence,” declared Al Montna, a California rice producer and chairman of the USA Rice Federation. “We are requesting that state authorities take specific actions to ensure that commercial seed supplies for the 2007 crop have tested negative for the presence of Liberty Link (LL) genetically engineered traits. The plan also makes recommendations to all segments of the rice industry to further ensure that Liberty Link traits do not appear in the rice supply from 2007 forward,” Montna said.

2006-11-30 |

Australia debates lifting ban on cloning embryos for research

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Scientists will be allowed to create human embryo clones for medical research if the Australian government passes news laws, being debated today, to lift a four-year ban. The Australian lower house is debating a proposal to legalize the creation of human embryos through so-called somatic cell nuclear transfer to aid research into diseases including Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. The debate is expected to take four days, double the time the House of Representatives discussed the annual budget and Telstra Corp.'s privatization.

2006-11-30 |

Vietnam succeeds in animal cloning

HANOI, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's Biotechnology Institute has announced they have basically succeeded in cloning a kind of wild pigs, local newspaper Saigon Liberation reported Thursday. Local scientists have used cells of the pigs to conduct cloning research to serve biodiversity preservation purposes, the newspaper said.

2006-11-29 |

WTO: Russia welcomes US to participate in the creation of its biosafety regulation

In frame of the bilateral agreement signed on the 19th of November by the US and Russia’s economic and trade officials there was also a specific GMO document: US Russia Side Letter on Biotechnology. Despite the fact that in this letter nothing is said about rejection of labeling regulation on which US insisted during the negotiations (it was mentioned by President Putin at Civil G8 meeting in July in Moscow: Within Russia’s WTO negotiations process one of the main requirements that was brought by some countries is to reject regulations aimed at informing of public on GMOs in food products), this letter provides an opportunity for US lobby to influence the biosafety related decision making process. This influence will range from consumer rights regulation to GM crops registration regime.

2006-11-29 |

Canadian canola still banned from Europe despite WTO ruling

Genetically Modified (GM) canola from Canada remains banned from the European Union (EU) despite a recent ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO) that EU policy on this issue was unjustified, according to industry sources. "Nothing has changed," Diane Wreford, Assistant Vice-President, Public Affairs for the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) said. "There has been no victory." She said that what the WTO did rule is that the EU was unjustified in blocking GM canola imports from 1999 and 2003.

2006-11-29 |

Diapason launches non-GM agro commodity index

LONDON (HedgeWorld.com) - Diapason Commodities Management has launched the first ever agricultural commodity-based index to incorporate only non-genetically modified output. The Diapason Commodities Agriculture Non-GMO Index or DCI AG NGMO covers a range of otherwise conventional agricultural commodities, but is restricted to those with no genetically modified content. The index is calculated in dollars and is meant to offer a liquid, truly international benchmark for non-genetically modified investment in OECD countries.

2006-11-29 |

GMO rice contamination found in the Philippines

Thailand, Vietnam slam doors against GE rice as contamination spreads further
Manila, PHILIPPINES — Greenpeace today revealed that illegal GE (genetically-engineered) rice has contaminated the Philippine food chain, in the latest in a series of GE rice contamination scandals around the world. Bayer's LL601—which has not been approved for human consumption anywhere in the world except in the US last week—has contaminated rice products from the US which are currently on sale in Manila. The brand found to be contaminated by GE rice is "Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice" which is distributed in the Philippines by Purefeeds Inc and sold in major supermarkets like Robinson's, Shopwise, and SM.

2006-11-29 |

DuPont aims to launch biotech soybean rival

DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. said Tuesday that it is on track to commercialize by 2009 a biotech soybean product that will compete with the Roundup Ready soybean trait sold by Creve Coeur-based Monsanto Co. DuPont said it has completed its regulatory submissions, seeking approval of the product, to the U.S. Agriculture Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration.

2006-11-28 |

Bowlful of worry

In China, where rice is an honored staple, a bid to grow genetically altered varieties would put the country in biotech's forefront. But market and environmental concerns have delayed approval. In myth, seeds of rice came to China tied to a dog's tail, rescuing the people from famine after a time of severe floods. Ancient writings held that grains — rice foremost among them — were more precious than jade or pearls. Now China is deliberating whether to allow farmers to plant rice seed born of biotechnology, modified by scientists in the laboratory.

2006-11-28 |

Germany permits first trial GMO wheat plantings

HAMBURG (Reuters) - The German government has permitted the first plantings of genetically-modified wheat for research, it said on Friday. Planting of about 1,200 square metres of GMO wheat had been approved at Gatersieben in Saxony-Anhalt in east Germany on the site of the Leibniz agricultural research institute, German food safety agency BVL said.

2006-11-28 |

EU cautious on US plan to milk cloned cows

Debate on whether to approve milk from cloned cattle for general consumption in the US is unlikely to be replicated in Europe in the near future, because consumers would reject the products. The European Dairy Association said there were no plans to get dairy foods from cloned animals approved for consumption in the EU. Its comments follow a statement from America's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it hoped to draft regulations on milk and meat from cloned animals in the US in the next few months.

2006-11-28 |

Agreement on non-GE policy

An agreement between Thai and Vietnamese rice exporters to maintain non-genetically engineered produce will enable Thailand to gain more access to the European Union market, Wanlop Pichpongsa, a member of the Thai Exporters Association, said yesterday. The association and the Vietnam Food Association last week agreed in principle to announce non-GE crops during a meeting in Bangkok. The agreement will be made official in March next year. Mr Wanlop said the agreement would present a big opportunity for Thai and Vietnamese rice exporters, who would enjoy better access to the EU market after the EU imposed a ban on rice imports from the United States, after GM strains were found in a rice shipment from the US last month.

2006-11-27 |

Hungary set to pass 'strictest' GMO crop law

Hungary is set to impose strict rules on genetically modified crops that would mostly block their cultivation even if the EU overturns the country's GMO ban. The law, supported by the opposition as well as government parties, is expected to be passed on Monday in case the European Union forces Hungary to abandon its complete ban. "This is Europe's, perhaps the world's, strictest GMO law," Agriculture Minister Jozsef Graf said.

2006-11-27 |

Bt rice on trial in India

THE tranquil routine of Rangaraju's retired life, in Ramanathapuram village near Coimbatore, was in for a rude shock. On the morning of November 10, people from the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association landed up at his doorstep. They wanted to uproot the harvest in his farm. The farmers told him that his rice field had a genetically modified (GM) crop whose harvest could contaminate food supplies if it was not destroyed. A bewildered Rangaraju did not know how to react. He asked them for time to consult Mahyco, the company that was conducting a field trial on his plot. But before he knew it, the 150-strong crowd had uprooted the Bt rice crop from his field. In a matter of one day, this former schoolteacher found himself in the midst of an international controversy.

2006-11-27 |

Burkina Faso to launch production of transgenic cotton in 2007

OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) - Africa's largest producer of cotton, Burkina Faso, is to introduce transgenic cotton to the market in June 2007 in a bid to increase production and fortify a crop susceptible to insects, the country's largest textile firm said. The plan has sparked concern from organisations that believe genetically modified organisms pose a potential danger to the environment and human health and will not solve Africa's farming problems.

2006-11-27 |

West African food aid contaminated with GM rice

Accra (Ghana), Freetown (Sierra Leone). 24 November 2006. A genetically modified (GM) rice not allowed for human consumption originated from the United states has been found in food aid and other rice supplies in West Africa. The findings were revealed today by Friends of the Earth at simultaneous press conferences in Ghana and Sierra Leone where the environmental campaign group urged the governments of Sierra Leone and Ghana to immediately recall the contaminated products.

2006-11-25 |

EU to debate approving first

BRUSSELS, Nov 23 (Reuters) - The European Union will venture into the sensitive area of "live" genetically modified (GMO) crops next month, for the first time in eight years, when EU experts debate whether to let farmers grow biotech potatoes. EU countries have been divided for years over GMO policy and even the idea of how biotech crops should be separated from traditional and organic varieties has proved controversial. So to approve another "live" GMO will be difficult, diplomats say. The EU's last approval of a GMO product for cultivation was in 1998. Shortly after, the bloc started its de facto moratorium on new biotech authorisations that ended in 2004. Still, no more "live" GMOs have gained EU approval since that time.

2006-11-25 |

Ground reality: Bt cotton crop rises to 8.6 m acres in India

NEW DELHI: Refuting the government’s claims on the area under Bt cotton in the country, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has estimated that close to 8.6 million acres went under genetically modified cotton crop in ’06. That is more than double the 3.2m acres estimated by ISAAA to have gone under genetically modified (GM) cotton in ’05. The Centre has been contending that only a fraction of the total area under cotton in the country is under Bt cotton.

2006-11-25 |

Wheat takes a walk on the wild side

Scientists have found a way to boost wheat's nutrient content by reintroducing a gene that was 'lost' over the years as the wild plant was domesticated. [...] The wheat varieties bred by the scientists are not genetically modified, which could help them become accepted commercially, they say. "We didn't do it by genetic modification. The normal wheat crosses perfectly well with the wild wheat. So we just crossed it after normal breeding," Dubcovsky says.

2006-11-25 |

Biggest Russian food and feed importers adopt GE free policy

After three weeks of intensive campaigning against imports of genetically engineered food (GE) and feed coming into Russia, Greenpeace received an announcement from two major Russian food and feed importers that they have adopted a policy of only using non GE products. Sodruzhestvo, the biggest soya importer in Russia, which supplies 70% of all soya used in the Russian food and feed industry, has stated that it will turn its new factory currently under construction in Kaliningrad into a GE free zone. The new oil-extraction and feed-processing plant will not only produce GE free soya oils and feeds, but also GE free maize and GE free oilseed rape products. Following the move by Sodruzhestvo the feed producer Rybflotprom, which controls 7 % of the Russian feed market and is 80 % owned by the French company Provimi, also announced it has adopted a GE free policy for all its products.

2006-11-25 |

Pressure on Chance over GM stand

Agriculture Minister Kim Chance is under renewed pressure to lift the State Government’s moratorium on genetically modified crops. Pastoralists and Graziers Association grain committee chairman Leon Bradley said it was essential the ban was lifted and the Government was denying farmers the technology that would enable them to “stay in the race”. But Mr Chance was standing firm yesterday on the Government’s ban, which prevents the commercial release of all GM crops in WA until at least 2009.

2006-11-25 |

Chhattisgarh Govt crushes GM rice trials

PICKING UP the cudgel for farmers protesting against genetically-modified (GM) rice, the Chhattisgarh government on Thursday destroyed a field on the outskirts Raipur, where field trials of GM rice were in progress. It also questioned the Centre on “allowing the trials without informing the state government”. State agriculture secretary, Pankaj Diwedi told the Hindustan Times that the ministry of environment and forests was holding “casual” trials. “But they should have written to us informing that the state has been selected for GM trials,” Diwedi said.

2006-11-23 |

WTO rules EU illegally blocked biotech food from U.S., others

GENEVA (AP) - The World Trade Organization on Tuesday ruled that European countries broke international trade regulations by preventing imports of genetically modified foods. Argentina, Canada and the United States -- which brought the dispute to the WTO -- said the decision proves there was no scientific evidence to justify the ban. The three urged the 25-nation European Union to immediately bring into compliance its laws on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

2006-11-23 |

Human genome surprisingly diverse

PARIS: The assumption that humans are genetically almost identical is wide of the mark - and the implications could be resounding, according to a new international study. Current thinking, inspired by the results five years ago from the Human Genome Project, is that the six billion humans alive today are 99.9 per cent similiar when it comes to genetic content and identity.

2006-11-23 |

GMO: Debate rages on

A SOUTHERN Africa regional conference on genetically modified organisms and food security has stirred debate over the new technology’s perceived benefits and negative implications on the African people. This year’s conference is being held under the theme: "Being the light of the world in the light of GMO debate". The three-day conference, organised by Christian Care, which is expected to end today has drawn delegates, including environmental lawyers, from South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Canada and Germany, who are experts in biotechnology, environmental science and agricultural science, among others.

2006-11-23 |

Golden Rice still at development stage

NEW DELHI, NOV 22: The delay in the release of provitamin A rich Golden Rice for mass cultivation in India has led to an avoidable loss of 240,000 lives, says the co-inventor of the product Ingo Potrykus. The transgenic Golden Rice contains two novel genes - one from maize and other from a soil bacterium. It does not contain an antibiotic resistance marker gene.

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