SCIENTISTS VS. GM SEEDS
 

 
 

 
 

 

 
  Institute of Science in Society

Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments

Summary

We, the undersigned scientists call for the immediate suspension of all environmental releases of GM crops, both commercially and in open field trials, for at least five years; and for patents on organisms, seeds, cell lines and genes to be revoked and banned.

Patents on life-forms are allowing corporations to pirate intellectual and genetic resources from Third World nations and increasing corporate monopoly on food production and distribution. GM crops are not necessary to feed the world. There is already more than enough food for everyone. What we need is an end to food monopoly and a more equitable distribution.

The public have been promised miracle GM crops that will fix nitrogen, resist drought and improve yield. Instead, the only crops on offer are engineered to be tolerant to wide-spectrum herbicides manufactured by the same corporations, or are engineered with bt-toxins to kill insect pests. The latest large-scale survey of GM crops showed they offered no benefits. On the contrary, they yield significantly less and require the use of more herbicides.

The hazards of GM crops are now becoming apparent, and some of them are acknowledged by sources with the UK and US Governments. The herbicides used with herbicide-tolerant crops destroy biodiversity and are toxic to many animals including human beings. Herbicide-tolerant GM crops have become weeds and created further weeds by cross-pollination. The bt-toxins harm beneficial insect-pollinators, and have also led to widespread evolution of resistance among insect pests.
 

 
 
 

The horizontal spread of antibiotic resistance marker genes from GM crops has already been recognised as a serious hazard that will compromise the treatment of life-threatening infectious diseases which have come back worldwide. New findings show that the horizontal spread of marker genes and other transgenic DNA can occur, not only by ingestion but via breathing in pollen and dust. The cauliflower mosaic viral promoter, widely used in GM crops, may enhance horizontal gene transfer and has the potential to generate new viruses that cause diseases.

All commercial plantings and open field trials should be halted. They are hazardous as the spread of transgenic pollen cannot be controlled. At the same time, the field-trials will produce no useful results because the protocols are inadequate. No attempts are being made to monitor for horizontal gene transfer or for impacts on public health.

There is an urgent need for research into sustainable agricultural methods that do not require GM crops. Many of these systems have already resulted in increased yields and diminished environmental impacts around the world.

We, the undersigned scientists, call for the immediate suspension of all environmental releases of GM crops, both commercially and in open field trials, for at least 5 years; and for patents on organisms, seeds, cell lines and genes to be revoked and banned [1].

  1. Patents on life-forms are allowing corporations to plagiarise indigenous knowledge and plunder genetic resources from Third World communities, and at the same time, increasing corporate monopoly on food which is destroying livelihoods of family farmers all over the world.
     
  2. It is becoming increasingly clear that the current GM crops are neither needed nor beneficial. They are a dangerous diversion from the real task of providing food and health around the world. Too many instances of rogue scientists having been discovered altering the structure of seeds in order to carry disease, which can and probably are targeting the human race. We see this as inevitable and nothing short of BIO-WAR in our food.
     
  3. The promises to genetic engineer crops to fix nitrogen, resist drought, improve yield and to 'feed the world' have been around for at least 30 years. Such promises have built up a multibillion-dollar industry now controlled by a mere handful of corporate giants.
     
  4. The miracle crops have not materialised. Instead, two simple characteristics account for all the GM crops in the world [2]. More than 70% are tolerant to broad-spectrum herbicides, with companies engineering plants to be tolerant to their own brand of herbicide, while the rest are engineered with bt-toxins to kill insect pests. A total of 65 million acres were planted in 1998 within the US, Argentina and Canada. The latest surveys on GM crops in the US, the largest grower by far, showed no significant benefit. On the contrary, the most widely grown GM crops - herbicide-tolerant soya beans - yielded on average 6.7% less and required two to five times more herbicides than non-GM varieties [3].
     
  5. 5. According to the UN food programme, there is enough food to feed the world one and a half times over. World cereal yields have consistently outstripped population growth since 1980, but one billion are hungry [4]. It is on account of corporate monopoly operating under the globalised economy that the poor are getting poorer and hungrier. Family farmers all over the world have been driven to destitution and suicide, and for the same reasons. Between 1993 and 1997 the number of mid-sized farms in the US dropped by 74,440 [5], and farmers are now receiving below the average cost of production for their produce [6]. Four corporations currently control 85% of the world trade in cereals [7].
     
  6. 6. The new patents on seeds will intensify corporate monopoly by preventing farmers from saving and replanting seeds, which is what most farmers still do in the Third World. Christian Aid, a major charity working with the Third World, concludes that GM crops will cause unemployment, exacerbate Third World debt, threaten sustainable farming systems and damage the environment. It predicts famine for the poorest countries [8]. The picture is just as grim for the developed world. A coalition of family farming groups in the US have declared their opposition to GM crops and corporate ownership of life-forms through patenting. They are demanding a moratorium on all corporate mergers and acquisitions, a moratorium on farm closures, and an end to policies that serve big agribusiness interests at the expense of family farmers, taxpayers and the environment [9].
     
  7. The hazards of GM crops are now becoming apparent, and some of them are acknowledged by sources within the UK and US Governments. For example, the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has admitted that the transfer of GM crops and pollen beyond the planted fields is unavoidable [10], and this has already resulted in herbicide-tolerant weeds [11]. Bt-resistant insect pests have evolved in response to the continuous presence of the toxins in transgenic plants throughout the growing season, and the US Environment Protection Agency is recommending farmers to plant up to 40% non-GM crops in order to create refugia for non-resistant insect pests [12]. The broad-spectrum herbicides used with herbicide-tolerant GM crops not only decimate wild species indiscriminately, but are toxic to animals. One of them, glufosinate, causes birth defects in mammals [13], A Swedish study now links the top-selling herbicide, glyphosate, to non-Hodgkin lymphoma [14]. GM crops with bt-toxins kill beneficial insects such as bees [15] and lacewings [16], and pollen from bt-maize is lethal to monarch butterflies [17].
     
  8. A potential source of health hazards from GM crops is from the secondary horizontal transfer of transgenic DNA to unrelated species; in principle, to all species interacting with the transgenic plants [18]. The spread of antibiotic resistance marker genes to pathogens is the most immediate danger as this will further compromise treatment of life-threatening drug and antibiotic resistance diseases which have come back worldwide. However, the random insertion of foreign DNA into genomes associated with horizontal transfer of transgenic DNA can also result in many harmful effects, including cancer in mammalian cells [19]. The potential for horizontal gene transfer is now also acknowledged by sources within the US and UK Governments.
     
  9. The possibility for naked or free DNA to be taken up by mammalian cells is explicitly mentioned in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) draft guidance to industry on antibiotic resistance marker genes [20]. In commenting on the FDA's document, the UK MAFF pointed out that transgenic DNA may be transferred not just by ingestion, but by contact with plant dust and air-borne pollen during farm work and food processing [21], and cited several significant new findings bearing on the issue.
     
  10. Thus, plant DNA is not readily degraded during most commercial food processing [22]. Procedures such as grinding and milling left grain DNA largely intact, as did heat-treatment at 90oC. The DNA of plants placed in silage showed little degradation of DNA, and the special MAFF report advises against using ensilaged transgenic plants in animal feed.
     
  11. The letter from UK MAFF to US FDA also mentions new findings that the human mouth contains bacteria capable of taking up and expressing naked DNA containing antibiotic resistance marker genes and similar transformable bacteria are also present in the respiratory tracts [23].
     
  12. What both regulatory authorities have failed to consider is that transgenic pollens, which may have increased allergenicity and toxicity besides, will almost certainly spread far afield to the general public. Similarly, the current unregulated practice of feeding farm animals transgenic grain and plant remains, and transgenic wastes, both ensilaged and otherwise, is endangering the health of farm animals and of human beings in spreading antibiotic resistance marker genes and other transgenic DNA.
     
  13. Serious health concerns are also raised by the cauliflower mosaic viral (CaMV) promoter in transgenic DNA. The CaMV promoter, widely used in expression cassettes of transgenes, is known to contain a 'recombination hotspot'. One usual mechanism of recombination involves the double-stranded DNA breaking and joining with other double-stranded DNA. This has been identified as the mechanism generating many different lines of transgenic rice during a routine transformation experiment. Extensive recombination at the hotspot has taken place in the absence of the viral recombinase, indicating that the host plant cell can catalyse such recombinations [24]. Thus, the CaMV promoter has an enhanced capability to transfer horizontally, with potentially dangerous consequences.
     
  14. CaMV is closely related to human hepatitis B virus, and also has a reverse transcriptase gene related to that in retroviruses such as the AIDS-associated HIV [25]. Thus, the CaMV promoter not only enhances horizontal gene transfer, but has the potential to reactivate dormant viruses (which are in all genomes) and to generate new viruses by recombination.
     
  15. The British Medical Association, in their interim report (published May, 1999), called for an indefinite moratorium on the releases of GMOs pending further research on new allergies, the spread of antibiotic resistance genes and the effects of transgenic DNA. This position is fully in accord with the precautionary principle.
     
  16. Contrary to the claims of the UK Government, no useful results can be obtained in the current massive 'farm-scale' trials of transgenic herbicide-tolerant oil-seed rape and maize where the spread of transgenic pollens cannot be controlled, and which make no attempts to monitor for horizontal gene transfer or for impacts on health [26].
     
  17. Research into sustainable, non-corporate agricultural systems which do not involve GM crops should be widely supported. Many of these systems have already resulted in increased yield and income for family farmers, diminished environmental impacts, and improvements in nutrition and health for all [27].

 

  1. See World Scientists Statement < www.i-sis.dircon.co.uk >
     
  2. James, C. (1998). Global Status of Transgenic Crops in 1998, ISAAA Briefs, New York.
     
  3. Benbrook, C. (1999). Evidence of the Magnitude and Consequences of the Roundup Ready Soybean Yield Drag from University-Based Varietal Trials in 1998, Ag BioTech InfoNet Technical Paper No. 1, Idaho.
     
  4. See Watkins, K. (1999). Free trade and farm fallacies. Third World Resurgence 100/101, 33-37.
     
  5. Farm and Land in Farms, Final Estimates 1993-1997, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.
     
  6. See Griffin, D. (1999). Agricultural globalization. A threat to food security? Third World Resurgence 100/101, 38-40.
     
  7. Farm Aid fact sheet: The Farm Crisis Deepens, Cambridge, Mass, 1999.
     
  8. Simms, A. (1999). Selling Suicide, farming, false promises and genetic engineering in developing countries, Christian Aid, London.
     
  9. Farmer's rally on Capitol Hill, September 12, 1999.
     
  10. MAFF Fact Sheet: Genetic modification of crops and food, June, 1999.
     
  11. See Ho, M.W. and Tappeser, B. (1997). Potential contributions of horizontal gene transfer to the transboundary movement of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. Proceedings of Workshop on Transboundary Movement of Living Modified Organisms resulting from Modern biotechnology : Issues and Opportunities for Policy-makers (K.J. Mulongoy, ed.), pp. 171-193, International Academy of the Environment, Geneva.
     
  12. Mellon, M. and Rissler, J. (1998). Now or Never. Serious New Plans to Save a Natural Pest Control, Union of Conerned Scientists, Cambridge, Mass.
     
  13. Garcia,A.,Benavides,F.,Fletcher,T. and Orts,E. (1998). Paternal exposure to pesticides and congenital malformations. Scand J Work Environ Health 24, 473-80.
     
  14. Hardell, H. & Eriksson, M. (1999). A Case-Control Study of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Exposure to Pesticides. Cancer85, 1353-1360.
     
  15. "Cotton used in medicine poses threat: genetically-altered cotton may not be safe" Bangkok Post, November 17, 1997.
     
  16. Hilbeck, A., Baumgartner, M., Fried, P.M. and Bigler, F. (1998). Effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis-corn-fed prey on mortality and development time of immature Chrysoperla carnea (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Environmental Entomology 27, 480-96.
     
  17. Losey, J.E., Rayor, L.D. and Carter, M.E. (1999). Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae. Nature 399, 214.
     
  18. Reviewed in Ho, M.W. (1998,1999). Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare? The Brave New World of Bad Science and Big Business, Gateway Books, Bath; Ho, M.W., Traavik, T., Olsvik, R., Tappeser, B., Howard, V., von Weizsacker, C. and McGavin, G. (1998b). Gene Technology and Gene Ecology of Infectious Diseases. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 10, 33-59; Traavik, T. (1999a). Too early may be too late, Ecological risks associated with the use of naked DNA as a biological tool for research, production and therapy, Research report for Directorate for Nature Management, Norway.
     
  19. Reviewed by Doerfler, W., Schubbert, R., Heller, H., Kämmer, C., Hilger-Eversheim, D., Knoblauch, M. and Remus, R. (1997). Integration of foreign DNA and its consequences in mammalian systems. Tibtech 15, 297-301; see also note 18.
     
  20. Draft Guidance for Industry: Use of Antibiotic Resistance Marker Genes in Transgenic Plants, US FDA, September 4, 1998.
     
  21. See Letter from N. Tomlinson, Joint Food Safety and Standards Group, MAFF, to US FDA, 4 December, 1998.
     
  22. Forbes, J.M., Blair, D.E., Chiter, A., and Perks, S. (1998). Effect of Feed Processing Conditions on DNA Fragmentation Section 5 - Scientific Report, MAFF.
     
  23. Mercer, D.K., Scott, K.P., Bruce-Johnson, W.A. Glover, L.A. and Flint, H.J. (1999). Fate of free DNA and transformation of the oral bacterium Streptococcus gordonii DL1 by plasmid DNA in human saliva. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 65, 6-10.
     
  24. 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.
     
  25. Xiong, Y. and Eickbush, T.H. (1990). Origin and evolution of retroelements based upon their reverse transcriptase sequences. EMBO J. 9, 3353-3362.
     
  26. Firbank, L.G. Dewar, A.M., Hill, M.O., May, M.J., Perry, J.N., Rothery, O.P., Squire, G.R. and Woiwod, I.P. (1999). Farm-scale evaluation of GM crops explained. Nature 399, 727-8.
     
  27. See Pretty, J. (1995). Sustainable Agriculture, Earthscan, London; also Pretty, J. (1998). The Living Land - Agriculture, Food and Community Regeneration in Rural Europe, Earthscan, London.

World Scientists' Statement

World Scientists' Statement launched in Cartegena, Columbia, (Feb. 1999) during the UN Convention of Biological Diversity Conference on the International Biosafety Protocol, calling on all governments to:

  • Impose an immediate moratorium on further environmental releases of transgenic crops, food and animal-feed products for at least 5 years.
  • Ban patents on living organisms, cell lines and genes.
  • Support a comprehensive, independent public enquiry into the future of agriculture and food security for all, taking account of the full range of scientific findings as well as socioeconomic and ethical implications.

Signed (139 scientists from 27 countries- names grouped by country):

DI Gertrude Kaffenbock, PhD candidate, Agricultural Economist, St Polten, Austria
Angela Fehringer, Anthropology Student, Sydney, Australia
Margaret Jackson, BSc.Genetics, National Genetics Awareness Alliance, Australia
Dr. Ted Steele, Molecular Immunologist, U. Wollengong, Australia
Stephen Glanville PDC, ECOS Design, Australia
Dr Farhad Mazhar, Ecologist, New Agricultural Movement, Bangladesh
Renata Menasche, Agronomist, Federal Un. of Rio Grand du Sul, Brazil
Paulo Roberto Martins, Research Institute of Technology, Brazil
Dr Thomas R. Preston, Un. of Tropical Agriculture, Cambodia
Prof. David Suzuki, Geneticist, U.B.C., Canada
Prof. Joe Cummins, Geneticist, University of Western Ontario, Canada
Dr Warren Bell, MD, Canad. Assoc. of Physicians for the Environ., Canada
Prof. Abby Lippman, Epidemologist & Geneticist, McGill Un. Canada
Prof. Ronald Labonte, Population Health Research Director, Ontario, Canada
Prof. Marijan Jost, Plant Geneticist, Agricultural College, Krizevci, Croatia
Prof Anton Svajger, Un Zagreb Medical School, Croatia
Vesna Samobor, M.Sc. Agricultural College, Krizevci, Croatia
Damir Magdic, M.Sc. Food Scientist, Osijek Un, Croatia
Damjan Bogdanovic, PhD candidate, Un Zagreb, Croatia
Dr Zora Mastrovic, MD, MS, Croatian Natural Law Party, vice president, Croatia
Dr. Tewolde Egziabher, Agronomist, Min. of the Environment, Ethiopia
Dr. Herve Le Meur, Biomathematician, Univ. Paris, France
Dr George Capouthier, Biologist, Uni. of Paris VI, France
Dr. Christine von Weisaeker, Ecoropa, Germany
Dr Christiane Boecker, MCommH, Community Health, Haiti
Prof. Ervin Laszlo, President, The Club of Buddapest, Hungary
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Research Institute for Science and Ecology, India
Dr. Muhua Achary, Environmentalist, St. Joseph's College, Bangalore, India
Dr. Thomas S. Cox, Research Geneticist, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (retired), Hyberabad, India
Dr. Bruno D'Udine, Behaviour Ecologist, University of Udine, Italy
Dr Giorgio Cingolani, Agricultural Economist, Italy
Prof. Leopoldo Silvestroni, Endocrinologist, University of Rome 'La Sapienza,' Italy
Prof. Atuhiro Sibatani, Molecular Biologist, Osaka, Japan
Dr Shiron Sugita, Plant Geneticist, Nagoya U. Japan
Dr Noeoru Tagishita, Plant Geneticist, Jap. Assoc. Agro-Nature, Tokyo, Japan
Dr. Shingo Shibata, Biosafety and Environmental Sociologist, Japan
Dr Machiko Yasukohchi, PLAN - International Japan Public RelationsTeam, Japan
Jaroen Compeerapap, Environmental Law and Development Center, The Netherlands
Dr Robert Mann, Ecologist, Auckland, New Zealand
Dr Peter R Wills, Theoretical Biology, Uni. Auckland, New Zealand
Prof. Terje Traavik, Virologist, University of Tromso, Norway
Dr Ingrid Olesen, Senior Research Scientist, Institute of Aquaculture Res.Ltd, Norway
Prof. Oscar B. Zamora, Agronomist, U. Phillipines, Los Banos, Phillipines
Dr. Pamela G. Fernadez, Agronomist, U. Phllipines, Los Banos, Phillipines
Dr Mararida Silva, Molecular Biologist, Portuguese Catholic Uni., Portugal
Glenn Ashton, Director, Ekogaia Foundation, and Green Party, South Africa
Dr Gregorio Alvar, Biotechnologist,. Computense U. Madrid, Spain
Dr. Javier Blasco, Aragonese Ctr Rural European Information, Spain
Dr. Katarina Leppanen, History of Ideas, Gothenburg Uni, Sweden
Florianne Koechlin, Biologist, World Wildlife Fund, Switzerland
Verena Soldati, Biotechnologist, Basler Appell, Switzerland
Dr. Daniel Amman, Cell Biologist, Tech. Switzerland
Dr. Ruth Goseth, Dermatologist, ISDE, Switzerland
Yves Schatzle, Agronomist and Economist, Switzerland
Prof. Omboom Luanratana, Pharmacologist, Univ. of Mahedol, Bangkok,Thailand.
Prof. Arpad Pusztai, Biochemist, Formerly from Rowett Institute, UK
Dr. Susan Bardocz, Geneticist, Aberdeen, UK
Dr. Colin L.A. Leakey, Plant Geneticist, Cambridge, UK
Dr. Harash Narang, Pathologist, BSE expert, UK
Prof. Richard Lacey, Microbiologist, Leeds, UK
Dr. Michael Antoniou, Molecular Geneticist, Guy's Hospital, UK
Dr David Bellamy, The Conservation Foundation, London, UK
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Geneticist and Biophysicist, Open University, UK
Dr J. M. Kerr, Bioethics, Winchester College: Oxford U. UK
Fatima Pelica, Biochemist, PhD Candidate, JII, UK
Dr Jerry Ravetz, Philosopher of Science, London, UK
Dr Tom Wakeford, Biologist, U. of East London, UK
Dr Michel Pimbert, Agricultural Ecologist, International Inst.for Environment and Dev. (IIED), UK
Peter Preston Jones, MSc, Environomental Campaigner, UK
Prof. Brian Goodwin, Biologist, Schumacher College, UK
Patrick Holden, Director, Soil Association, UK
Dr. Eva Novotny, Astrophysicist, Univ. Cambridge (retired), UK
Prof. Ian Stewart, Biomathematics, U. Warwick, UK
Dr. Vyvyan Howard, Toxipathologist, U. Liverpool, UK
Lynda Birke , Biologist, Liverpool Uni. Veterinary School, UK
Prof. Peter Saunders, Biomathematician, U. London, UK
Prof. Tim Ingold, Anthropologist, U. Manchester, UK
Dr. Robert C. Poller, Organic Chemist, U. London, UK
Gordon Daly P.hD student, Gene Therapist, Kennedy Inst. London, UK
Stuart Daly P.hD student, Transgenic group, Charing Cross Hosp. UK
Dr. John E. Hammond, Engineer, Highfeild, UK
Dr. Philip Kilner, Cardiologist, Royal Brompton & Harefield, UK
Dani Kaye M.Sc. Scientists for Global Responsibility London, UK
David Kaye M.Sc. Scientists for Global Responsibility, London, UK
Angela Ryan, Molecular biologist, Open Univ. UK
Prof. David Packham, Material Scientist, U. Bath, UK
Dr. David J Heaf, Biochemist, Wales, UK
Dr. Alan Currier, Taxonomist, IRBV, UK
Dr. Gesa Staats de Yanes, Veterinarian Toxicologists, U. Liverpool, UK
Barbara Wood-Kaczmar, M.Sc., Science writer, UK
Dr. Gene S. Thomas, Agriculturist, UK
Dr. David A.H. Birley, General Medical Practitioner, Swindon, UK
Dr. Brian Hursey, ex FAO Senior Officer for Vector Borne Diseases, Neath ,UK.
Prof. Martha Crouch, Biologist, Indiana University, USA
Prof. Ruth Hubbard, Biologist, Harvard University, USA
Prof. Phil Bereano, Council for Responsible Genetics, U. Washington USA
Prof. Martha Herbert , Pediatric Neurologist, Mass. Gen. Hosp. USA
Prof. David Schwartzman, Geochemist, Howard Uni. Washington DC USA
Prof. John Garderineer, Biologist, U. Michigan USA
Dr Samuel Eptein, School of Public Health, Univ. Illinois, Chicago
Dr John Fagan, Genetics ID, Washington, USA
Dr. Britt Bailey, Senior Researcher, CETOS, Ca, USA
Dr. Marc Lappe, Geneticist and Director CETOS, Ca, USA
Dr Michael W Fox, Veterinarian & Bioethicist, Washington DC, USA
Dr Walter Bortz, Physician, Palo Alto, USA
Anne-Marie Mayer, Ph. D. candidate, Nutrition, Cornell Univ., USA
Rev. Dorothy A. Harper, Bioethics, Washington, USA
Dr Louis H. Krut, MD. ChB.: MD, St Louis Uni. Medical School, Missouri, USA
Dr. Catherine Badley, Biologist, University of Michigan USA
Dr. Gerald Smith, Zoologist, U. Michigan, USA
Vuejuin McKersen M.Sc, Natural Resource Manager U. Michigan, USA
Dr. John Soluri, Historian of Science, Carnegie Mellon U USA
Juiet S Erazo PhD student U. of Michigan USA
Dr. Juette Peufecto, Biologist, U of Michigan USA
U.V. Kutzli Ph.D. Candidate, U of Michigan USA
Kristin Cobelius M.Sc. Student, U. Michigan USA
Lena S Nicolai PhD Student University of Michigan USA
Marial Peelle, Biol./Anthropologist Undergrad. Swarthmors College USA
Dr. Ty Fitzmorris, Ecologist, Hampshire College USA
Dr. Caros R Ramirez, Biologist, St Lawrance University USA
Rosa Vazquez Student in Biology, Ohio State University USA
Sean Lyman Student Gettysbury College USA
Ryan White Student St Lawrence University USA
Dr Jack Kloppenburg, Un. Wisconsin, Rural Sociologist, USA
Dr. Nancy A Schult, Entomologist, U of Wisconsin-Madison USA
Dr. Brian Schultz, Ecologist, Hampshire College USA
Dr. Douglas H Boucher, Ecologist, Hood College USA
Dr. Timothy Mann, Geographer, Hampshire College
Chris Picone M.Sc. Soil Microbiologist, U. Michigan USA
Dr. Peter M. Rosset, Ins. for Food and Development Policy, USA
Dr. Ignacio Chapela, Microbiologist & Ecologist, U.C. Berkeley, USA
Dr. Ingrid C. Northwood, Biochemist, Simon Fraser University, USA
Prof. Ed Daniel, Health Sciences Centre, McMaster University, Ca, USA
Dr Linda Jean Sheperd, Biochemist, Gaia Blessings, USA
Dr Herve Grenier, Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change, Univ.Washington,USA
U.V. Kutzli Ph.D. Candidate, U of Michigan USA
Alex Jack, Planetary Medicine, Jushi Institute, Becket, Mass, USA
Philip H Howard, Ph.D candidate, Rural Sociology, Uni. of Missouri, USA
Arthur Rybeck Jr D.D.S. Dentistry and Organic Farmer, Wheeling, USA
___________________________________________________


The Genetic Modification Group of the ISP

The Genetic Modification (GM) Group of the ISP consists of scientists working in genetics, biosciences, toxicology and medicine, and other representatives of civil society who are concerned about the harmful consequences of genetic modifications of plants and animals and related technologies and their rapid commercialisation in agriculture and medicine without due process of proper scientific assessment and of public consultation and consent.

We find the following aspects especially regrettable and unacceptable:

  • Lack of critical public information on the science and technology of GM
  • Lack of public accountability in the GM science community
  • Lack of independent, disinterested scientific research into, and assessment
    of, the hazards of GM
  • Partisan attitude of regulatory and other public information bodies, which appear more intent on spreading corporate propaganda than providing crucial information
  • Pervasive commercial and political conflicts of interests in both research and development and regulation of GM
  • Suppression and vilification of scientists who try to convey research information to the public that is deemed to harm the industry
  • Persistent denial and dismissal of extensive scientific evidence on the hazards of GM to health and the environment by proponents of genetic modification and by supposedly disinterested advisory and regulatory bodies
  • Continuing claims of GM benefits by the biotech corporations, and repetitions of these claims by the scientific establishment, in the face of extensive evidence that GM has failed both in the field and in the laboratory
  • Reluctance to recognize that the corporate funding of academic research in GM is already in decline, and that the biotechnology multinationals (and their shareholders) as well as investment consultants are now questioning the wisdom of the ‘GM enterprise’
  • Attacks on, and summary dismissal of, extensive evidence pointing to the benefits of various sustainable agricultural approaches for health and the environment, as well as for food security and social well-being of farmers and their local communities.
     

Independent Science Panel on GM

Members and brief biographies

Miguel Altieri

Professor and Entomologist, Center for Biological Control, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley. His expertise is on agroecology and the role of biodiversity in pest management.

Teaching and training activities focus on biological control of pests, insect ecology, plant-insect interactions, agricultural ecology, weed ecology and management; ecological and socioeconomic dimensions of small farm development; and sustainable rural development in Latin America. Research interests are on effects of vegetational diversity on insect pest populations and associated natural enemies in agroecosystems; biological control of insects and weeds in agroecosystems; design of biodiversified pest stable agroecosystems; ecological features and management of traditional and modern agroecosystems; development of sustainable integrated farming systems for resource-poor farmers; in-situ conservation of crop genetic resources; and conservation and management of biodiversity in agroecosystems.

Formerly Technical Advisor, Latin American Consortium on Agroecology and Development (CLADES), Santiago, Chile; General Coordinator, United Nations Development Programme's Sustainable Agriculture Networking and Extension Programme (SANE); and Chairman, NGO Committee of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Honorary positions include: Honorary Ph.D. 1996, Universidad Nacional de Cajamarca, Peru; Invited Professor, Instituto de Sociologia y de Estudios Campesinos, Universidad de Cordoba, Spain; Invited Professor, Facultad de Agronomia, Universidad de la Plata, Argentina; Invited Professor, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias y Forestales, Universidad de Chile, Santiago; Invited Professor, Universidad Iberoamericana de Andalucia, La Rabida, Spain; Green Professor in Residence, University of British Columbia, Vancouver-Canada; Fulbright Scholar, Chile and Visiting Expert, FAO-Rome.

He has authored and co-authored 184 published papers, five of which are in press, and has written and edited eleven books including A groecology: The Scientific Basis of Alternative Agriculture (1987) , Environmentally Sound Small Scale Agricultural Projects (1988) , Agroecology and Small Farm Development (1991) , Biodiversity and Pest Management in Agroecosystems (1994) , Agroecology: The science of sustainable agriculture (1995) , Agroecology: creating the synergisms for a sustainable agriculture (1995) .

Education: B.S. Agronomy l974, University of Chile; M.S. Agroecology l976, National University of Colombia; Ph.D. l979 Entomology (Major) and Pest Management (Minor), University of Florida, USA.

Michael Antoniou

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics, GKT School of Medicine, King's College London (1994 to present). Main research interests are (i) the structure and functional organisation of groups of human gene families, in particular, the control of gene function in muscle tissue and the control of genes that function in all cell types; (ii) development of efficient and safe gene units for use in gene therapy of inherited diseases (e.g. muscular dystrophy, thalassaemia, sickle cell disease). Research funded by UK research councils, EU and medical charities.

Much sought-after speaker at public meetings, schools and conferences throughout the UK in debating agricultural biotechnology issues; written many articles on the use of GM in medicine and especially agriculture for the lay public, in Farmers Weekly , The Living Earth (Soil Association), Smallholder (Farming) Magazine , The Independent on Sunday , The Vegetarian and other society magazines. Extensive interaction with the media over the past 7 years, and frequently quoted by the press, has had letters published in all the major national newspapers, contributed to several TV documentaries including “Frankenstein's Food” (Close Up West, BBC2 Bristol), “Seeds of Doubt” (First Sight, BBC2 Southeast), Frankenstein Food (Panorama, BBC2). Advisor on technical issues to many groups including Soil Association, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Iceland Frozen Foods, and to members of all major (and some minor) political parties.

Susan Bardocz

Biochemist, with a long and distinguished research record. Joined Rowett Institute Aberdeen, Scotland, as HSO and SSO between 1987-1990, then promoted to Head of the Gastroinstestinal Unit (1991-1993) and Head of Food-Gut-Microbial Interaction Group from 1994. A member of several professional bodies including the British and Hungarian Biochemical Societies and regularly refereed papers for Gut, Br. J. Nutr, BBA, J. Nutr. Biochem . and others, as well as supervised several MSc, PhD and Honours students. Editor of two series of EU publications "COST 98 Effect of antinutrients on the nutritional value of legume diet" and "COST 917 Biologically Active Amines in Food". Coordinated and chaired two major European programmes of work (FAIR No. 516 and COST 917) and was national representative on COST 916 and 98 programmes. Retired May 2000 from the Rowett Research Institute.

Education and awards: BSc, MSc in Chemistry, 1973, Kossuth University, Debrecen, Hungary; PhD in Biochemistry and Pharmacology, 1981, University Medical School of Debrecen, Hungary; “Candidate of Biological Sciences”, a research degree from The Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1986. Lecturer and later Senior Lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, University Medical School of Debrecen, Hungary.

About 150 primary scientific papers in international journals, 60 book chapters, authored and edited 3 books.

Elizabeth Bravo V.

Biologist, researcher and campaigner on biodiversity and GMO issues, and co-founder of Acción Ecológica, Ecuador, a key ecologist network working for collective rights and sustainability. Served as her Government's delegate to the Cartegena Biosafety Protocol (1998-2000) and played a major role in securing the final agreement. She initiated the Network for a GE Free Latin America and raised awareness of GM and protection of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources. She serves on the board of many non-government organisations and publications on biodiversity.

She obtained her Ph. D. from University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in the UK, and currently teaches part time in Universidad Politécnica Salesiana.

Publications include Food Aid and Genetic Modified Organisms,  presented in the World Food Summit, 2002, Network for a GE Free Latin America; Oil and War:  The Artifices of the 20th Century History, presented in the WSSD, 2002; The use of biological weapons in the war against the drugs, Acción Ecológica , 2000; The oil flows.  The Earth Bleeds.  Oilwatch, 1999.

David Bellamy

Mill House, Bedburn, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham DL13 3NN

David Bellamy, BSc., PhD., OBE, Hon: DSc., DUniv., FLS, FIBiol., internationally renowned botanist, environmentalist, broadcaster and author was lecturer in botany, 1960-68 and senior lecturer in botany, 1968-82 at the University of Durham. He was Visiting Professor of Natural Heritage Studies, Massey University, New Zealand 1989-91. He is currently Honorary Professor Adult and Continuing Education, University of Durham; Special Professor of Geography, University of Nottingham and Honorary Professor of the University of Central Queensland; Hon Fellowship University of Lancaster 1997; Hon Doctor of Science Bournemouth University 1999; and Hon Doctor Of Science Kingston University 2000.

He is President of The Conservation Foundation, The Wildlife Trusts Partnership, Population Concern, Plantlife, Youth Hostels Association, WATCH, Coral Cay Conservation, National Association for Environmental Education, British Naturalists Association, Galapagos Conservation Trust, British Institute of Cleaning Science, Association of Master Thatchers, British Home and Holiday Parks Association, and The Camping and Caravanning Club of Great Britain. He is Vice President of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, Fauna and Flora International, Marine Conservation Society, Australian Marine Conservation Society, Countrywide Holidays Association Trustee of the Living Landscape Trust, Hon Fellow Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management. He is an international consultant, author of 43 books, and writer and presenter of some 400 television programmes on Botany, Ecology and Environment. He is recipient of the OBE, the Dutch Order of the Golden Ark, the UNEP Global 500 Award, Duke of Edinburgh's Award for Underwater Research, BAFTA, Richard Dimbleby Award, BSAC Diver of The Year Award, RGS Busk Medal, Environmental Communicator of the Year Award and Guild of Travel Writers Special Award. He is Chair of the International Committee for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. Along with David Shreeve he is the originator of The Conservation Foundation and the Ford European Conservation Awards.

Joe Cummins

738 Wilkins Street, London, Ontario N6C4Z9, Canada, Telephone: 519 681 5477, E-mail: jcummins@uwo.ca

Professor Emeritus of Genetics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, is one of the earliest critics of genetic engineering. He obtained BS Horticulture, Washington State University 1955 and PhD Cellular Biology, University of Wisconsin 1962. Carried out postdoctoral research at Edinburgh, Palermo, Stockholm (Karolinska) and the Macardle Laboratory for Cancer Research University of Wisconsin. Taught genetics at Rutgers and the University of Washington, Seattle before joining University of Western Ontario in 1972. Became involved in environmental issues from 1968 including mercury, asbestos, PCB and pesticide pollution along with waste sites and incinerators. His critiques of genetic modification began in 1988 when he encountered the power of multinational corporations over the Canadian federal government, and their refusal to face serious risk evaluations.

He has published over 200 scientific and popular articles, the most recent papers appearing in Nature Biotechnology , The Ecologist , and Biotechnology and Development Review . He is also a regular contributor to the Institute of Science in Society's website and quarterly magazine, Science in Society , He has advised a number of citizen's groups, given public lectures, and served on environmental advisory panels advising the Canadian and Ontario governments in environmental issues.

Sue Edwards

Sue Edwards was born in the UK in 1942, has lived in Ethiopia since 1968 and now has Ethiopian citizenship. She was educated in England, Manchester (B.Sc) and Liverpool (M.Sc.). She is a taxonomic botanist, teacher and science editor by profession. She is Editor of the Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea since 1984 (7 volume work covering the 6 500 - 7 000 species of higher plants found in Ethiopia and Eritrea, 4 volumes in print, 1 in press, last 2 in preparation).

Since 1996, she has been the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) in Ethiopia. ISD started with a project with farmers and the Bureau of Agriculture of Tigray in Northern Ethiopia to help farmers improve their environment and productivity based on ecological principles. The ‘package' is now being promoted in over 80 communities in Tigray. ISD also works with environmental clubs to link cultural diversity with biodiversity, and urban youth groups. ISD also works with the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia and the African Union (formerly Organization of African Unity) in promoting the African Model Law on Protecting the Rights of Local Communities, Farmers and Breeders, and Regulating Access to Biological Resources, and African Model Law on Safety in Biotechnology.

She is author/co-author of over 40 papers, and has edited and published more than 50 documents including books, reports, proceedings and booklets.

Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher

Dr Tewolde Berhan was born on 19 February 1940 in a small village near Adwa town in Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia. He joined Elementary School when he was 11 years old and then won a scholarship to the General Wingate School in Addis Ababa in 1955. On joining Addis Ababa University in 1959, he decided to study science and was granted the Chancellor's Gold Medal when he graduated with a B.Sc. in Biology in 1963. In 1966, he left to study for a doctorate in plant ecology at the School of Plant Biology, University of North Wales, and returned as Ethiopia's first qualified plant ecologist in 1969.

From the time he graduated in 1963 until 1995, his academic base was in the Department of Biology of Addis Ababa University. His main responsibilities inside academia have been as Dean of the Faculty of Science from 1974 to 1978, and then Keeper of the National Herbarium from 1978 to 1983. It was during this period that the Ethiopian Flora Project was launched, with twin aims: to develop a national capacity in plant systematics and a competent national institution for research and services in this field, and also to publish a modern Flora for the country. The first part of this aim has been achieved with the National Herbarium now having a senior staff of four doctorates in systematic botany, three in plant ecology, and an editorial office. The second aim of producing an eight volume Flora is still being realized with four volumes in print and two more in press.

His other major post in academia was as President of Asmara University in what is now the independent country of Eritrea. During that period, he successfully negotiated a substantial grant for the development of tertiary science education, particularly in the applied fields of arid-zone agriculture, marine science, geology and some aspects of engineering.

His career has also involved responsibilities outside academia. Between 1972 and 1982 he was leader of the IDRC-UNU sponsored research project "Research and Development in Rural Settings". Ethiopia was one of six countries which contributed to this international Project. In 1991, he left Asmara University to take up the post of Director for the Ethiopian National Conservation Strategy Secretariat. During the four years he was in post, a National Conservation Strategy was developed and debated in a participatory manner at all the main levels of government culminating in a National Conference where the final draft documents were debated and amended before being submitted to the Government for approval. As from March 1995, Dr Tewolde has been the General Manager for Ethiopia's environmental watchdog, the Environmental Protection Authority.

Internationally, Dr Tewolde participated in the negotiations for Agenda 21 and the Convention on Biological Diversity, finalized in 1992. He also negotiated the Convention to Combat Desertification. He led the African and Like-Minded Group in negotiations for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which came into force in September 2003. He also led the African Group and was a Bureau member in the negotiations of the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture agreed in FAO. He is now a member of the Interim Panel of Eminent Experts, created by FAO in 2003, which is establishing a global fund for the conservation of crop genetic resources (Global Crop Diversity Trust). He has also worked with the African Union (previously the Organization of African Unity) in the development of two model laws: the Model Law for the Protection of the Rights of Communities, Farmers and Breeders, and for the Control of Access to Biological Resources , and the African Model Law for Safety in Biotechnology .

In December 2000, Dr Tewolde was awarded a Right Livelihood Award (alternative Nobel Prize) for his leadership in the biosafety negotiations, and for his work in developing and promoting community and farmers' rights.

His responsibilities in government have involved him in representing Ethiopia in several international fora as well as preparing official documents and reports. The following are the most significant:

  • Ethiopian representative in the UNCED negotiating team in Geneva, New York and Rio de Janeiro; played an important role in developing Chapter 13 on Sustainable Mountain Development of Agenda 21, 1991-92.
  • Co-Chairman, Panel 4, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to study the issue of biosafety and biotechnology as a follow-up of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992-93.
  • Negotiator for Ethiopia, Convention on Desertification, 1994-2000
  • Chief negotiator (spokesperson) of the African Group, and Bureau Member in the Revision of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, 1997-2001.
  • Ethiopia's negotiator, chief negotiator (spokesperson) of the African and Like-Minded Group and Bureau Member in the Biosafety Working Group negotiations on a Biosafety Protocol for the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1996, to when it was concluded in January 2000.
  • Leader of Ethiopia's delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, South Africa 2002

Dr Tewolde has produced over 50 publications from both original research and analysis of interactions between society and environment in Ethiopia's history as well as internationally.

Stanley Ewen

Email: s.w.b.ewen@abdn.ac.uk

Consultant Histopathologist, at Grampian University Hospitals Trust; formerly Senior Lecturer in Pathology, University of Aberdeen. He has been a full time NHS consultant histopathologist for 30 years with a special interest in colorectal diseases especially colorectal cancer. He is the lead histopathologist for the Grampian arm of the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot Project (first round completed March 2003). Relevant publications include ‘Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine, The Lancet 16th October 1999, 354,1353-1354 and Correspondence (Lancet 13th November 1999, 354, 1725-1727).

Edward Goldsmith

Pioneer environmentalist and anti-globalisation activist, recipient of the Right Livelihood, and numerous awards, independent scholar, author or editor of 18 books and numerous articles, founding editor of The Ecologist - foremost ecologist magazine in many countries in four
languages.

Brian Goodwin

Scholar in Residence, Schumacher College e-mail: BCGood1401@aol.com

Brian Goodwin was born in 1931 in Canada where he studied biology, took a mathematics degree at Oxford and then a PhD in biology and mathematics at Edinburgh University. He has held research and teaching positions at MIT, University of Sussex, and the Open University, UK, where he was Professor of Biology. He now teaches Holistic Science at Schumacher College
in England. His interests are in developing a science of qualities that can address issues of health and quality of life in diverse areas, and in adopting holistic ecological patterns of living.

Mae-Wan Ho

Institute of Science in Society, PO Box 32097, London NW1 0XR, UK, Ph: 44-(0)20-7272-5636 e-mail: m.w.ho@i-sis.org.uk

Co-founder and Director of the Institute of Science in Society, a not-for-profit organisation promoting social responsibility and holistic, ecological approaches in science, Editor and Art Director of the magazine Science in Society ; Science Advisor to the Third World Network and on the Roster of Experts for the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety.

She has a long and distinguished career in research and teaching in many disciplines, and is best known for pioneering a ‘physics of organisms', and as major critic of neo-Darwinism and genetic engineering.

A much sought-after public speaker and prolific writer with more than 400 publications in scientific journals and popular magazines, including a dozen books, among which, Beyond neo-Darwinism, the Epigenetic Approach to Evolution (co-edited with P. Saunders 1984) ; Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare (1998, 1999), The Rainbow and the Worm, the Physics of Organisms (1993, 1998), Living with the Fluid Genome (2003), Unravelling AIDS (with S. Burcher, R. Gala and V. Veljkovic, 2005); Rice is Life (with L.C. Lim and J. Cummins, 2005)

Education, awards & posts: B. Sc. Biology (1st class) 1964 & Ph.D. Biochemistry, 1967 HK University; Postdoctoral Research U. Calif. at San Diego1968-1971; Fellow of the National Genetics Foundation USA (1971-1974); Senior Research Fellow, Biochemistry Department, Queen Elizabeth College, London University, UK (1974-1976); Lecturer in Genetics (1974-1985), then Reader in Biology (1985-2000), Open University, UK.

other information: Curriculum Vitae

Malcolm Hooper

Emeritus Professor at the University of Sunderland, since 1993; previously, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sunderland Polytechnic (1982-1992).

He is Chief Scientific Advisor to the Gulf Veterans and accepted by the Ministry of Defence as their nominee on the Independent Panel established to consider the possible interactions between Vaccines and NAPS tablets (1997- date), and serves on the Gulf Support Group convened at the Royal British Legion. Also a member of the Depleted Uranium Board set up by the MOD (2001) to investigate the possible effects of exposure in the Gulf War to weapons containing depleted uranium. Involvement with the Gulf War Veterans brought him in contact with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, CFS/ME, and related disorders – including multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia. Now a patron of the Sunderland and South Shields ME Association and member of the Newcastle Research Group, which includes eminent physicians and scientists carrying out research into ME-CFS

His work with Gulf War Veterans also brought him into contact with organophosphate poisoned farmers, pesticide operatives and some scientists in this area.

His degrees, B. Pharm (1956) and Ph. D. (1959) are from the Faculty of Medicine, University of London, and by election, C.Chem. MRIC in 1963.

Successively, Lecturer in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Sunderland Technical College in 1959, Senior Lecturer in 1963, Reader in 1969, and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in 1982-92. Extensive research and teaching experience. He gurated links with Indian research institutions and universitid year celed the 25 th Anniversary of these links which involved, in particular, the design and development of new drugs for tropical diseases and an exploration of natural products associated with Ayurvedic medicine.

Also served on Committees of the Council for National Academic Awards, CNAA, World Health Organisation, Science and Engineering Research Council. Member of a number of learned societies including the Royal Chemical Society, the British Pharmacological Society, and the Society for Drug Research, SDR, (now renamed as the Society for Medicines Research). For over 12 years on the committee of the SDR and served as Chairman for 2 years. This involved the planning and organising major national and international conferences.

He has been interested and associated with the Autism Research Unit, University of Sunderland, for over 20 years with a growing involvement as the biochemical studies began to emerge.

He has a longstanding ministry as a Christian lay leader, preacher and teacher both locally, regionally and nationally. He served on the General Synod of the Church of England from 1970-1980.

As a voluntary leader he has been, or is involved, in three major campaigns concerned with the environment.

  • Against toxic waste dumping in a disused local colliery- it is now a major recreational site in Sunderland.
  • Currently leads CASSS (Campaign Against Sewage in the Sea at Sunderland) which with Seaham Environmental Association (SEA) have helped to achieve major changes in the quality of sewage treatment and disposal. Submitted evidence to the Select Committee on Sewage Treatment and Disposal.
  • As Chief Scientific Adviser to the Gulf War Veterans he submitted 45 pages of written evidence and gave oral evidence to the Select Committee on Defence, 1999 and 2001.

He is frequent speaker at events dealing with issues around organophosphates and pesticides, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Gulf War Illness/Syndrome and GM crops. Two recent publications in this field are, What is ME? What is CFS? Information for Doctors and Lawyers (2001) and Engaging with ME: towards understanding diagnosis and treatment (2003).

Vyvyan Howard

Developmental Toxico-Pathology Group, Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, The Sherrington Buildings, The University of Liverpool, Ashton Street, Liverpool L69 3GE, Tel: + 44 (0)151 794 5958, Fax: + 44 (0)151 794 5517 Mob: + 44 (0)151 794 7833

Medically qualified toxico-pathologist whose main research interest is the action of toxic substances on the fetus and infant. He is a member of the UK Government's Advisory Committee on Pesticides. Over the past decade he has given evidence in a large number of Public Inquiries on planning and licensing issues, which has involved the analysis and production of objective critiques of risk assessments. He was asked to review the scientific evidence for the Chardon LL fodder maize Public Inquiry and will present a critical review of the current use of risk assessment in the licensing of GM cultivars.

Brian John

Brian John is a geomorphologist and environmental scientist.  His first degree and doctorate were obtained in Oxford University, and his special research field was glacial dymamics and high-latitude climate change.  He has worked as a field scientist in Antarctica, Greenland and Iceland, and taught for eleven years in the Geography Department of Durham University. One of his teaching specialisms was environmental management.  He has written more than 55 books, including several university texts.  Since becoming a self-employed consultant and writer in 1977, he has been heavily involved in environmental organisations, and is the founder and long-time Chairman of the West Wales Eco Centre, a charity which now employs 14 staff. He was heavily involved with the Mathry campaign, which led to the cancellation of two GM crop trials in Pembrokeshire in 2001. He is currently one of the coordinating group members of GM Free Cymru, which works to keep Wales free of GM crops.

Marijan Jošt

Marijan Jo š t  ( marijan.jost@kc.tel.hr ) is currently employed at Agricultural College Krizevci as Professor of Plant Breeding and Seed Production. He earned his M.Sc. (1971) and D.Sc. (1973) degrees in genetics and plant breeding at Zagreb University, Croatia. As post-doctoral fellow he spent a year (1976/77) with Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. in Hutchinson, KS, USA. In 1993 and 1994 he was invited professor of Plant Breeding at Ljubljana University, Slovenia.

His career spans many distinguished years of wheat breeding resulting in several high quality wheat cultivars released, a number of scientific papers and lectures published in international publications and several books, the most recent just published in co-authorship with T.S. Cox (US): Intellectual Challenge of Self-Destruction Technology .

Besides wheat breeding, his present interest is in sustainable agriculture, particularly organic food production and anti-GMO campaigning. He represented Croatia at the Meeting of Technical Experts on the Biosafety Clearing-House in Montreal, and at the First Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in Montpellier.

Lim Li Ching

Institute of Science in Society, PO Box 32097, London NW1 0XR; e-mail: ching@i-sis.org.uk

Researcher, Institute of Science in Society and Third World Network, and deputy-editor of Science in Society magazine; completed her BSc in Ecology, 1994, then worked with WWF Malaysia. She graduated from the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University in 2001, having completed her MPhil in Development Studies. Joined the Institute of Science in Society and Third World Network in 2002. Her main interests and areas of work centre on genetic engineering and biosafety, and sustainable agriculture, particularly with respect to implications for developing countries.

Eva Novotny

Eva Novotny holds a PhD in Astronomy from Columbia University, New York. She worked in astrophysics, radar altimetry and scattering of EM waves (now retired). She started active interest in GM in 1999 and campaigning (for Scientists' for Global Responsibility, SGR) 3 years ago. She is currently writing two papers on pollen transport by wind, with a Belgian colleague. These form the basis of one of five reports presented by SGR to the oral Chardon LL Hearing.

Bob Orskov

Bob Orskov is Head of the International Feed Resource Unit in Aberdeen. He holds BSc, PhD, DSc, and is an OBE. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, FRSE. He is a Fellow of the Polish Academy of Science. He has written 5 books and is author or co-author of 560 papers. He has the highest literature citations in the north east of Scotland according to Isihighlycited.com. His special expertise is on animal production and livestock in rural development. He has had projects in more than 30 countries and is presently working in Kenya, Cameroon, Indonesia, Vietnam and China.

Michel Pimbert

Principal Associate, International Institute for Environment and Development E-mail: michel.pimbert@iied.org

Agricultural ecologist, with experience in research, training and consultancy on resource management issues and people-environment interactions. Since joining the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in 1999, he has co-ordinated action research on Sustaining Local Food Systems, Agricultural Biodiversity and Livelihoods as well as a joint IIED project with the UK based Institute for Development Studies (IDS ) - Institutionalising Participation in Natural Resource Management. He is also an advisor to IIED's Biodiversity Group and a member of the Natural Resources Group where he facilitates work on the Co-Management of Natural Resources. Previously, he worked with the Université François Rabelais de Tours in France, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India and the World Wide Fund for Nature in Switzerland. Over the last 20 years he has authored and edited several books, journal articles, technical and policy papers on agriculture, natural resource management, participatory action research and the political ecology of biodiversity, rights and culture. He has served on the Boards of several international NGOs working on food sovereignty, sustainable agriculture and human rights. He has acted as consultant or/and research partner for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and The World Conservation Union (IUCN). He has lived and worked extensively in South Asia and Europe, with experience in West Africa, Latin America and South East Asia.

Arpad Pusztai

Home address (from October to April): 6 Ashley Park North, Aberdeen AB10 6SF, Scotland, UK; phone/fax: 44-1224-594954; e-mail: a.pusztai@freenet.co.uk (from April to October): H-8262 Badacsony-Labdihegy, Tatai Sandor u 15, Hungary; phone/fax 36-87-432670; e-mail: a.pusztai@freenet.co.uk webpage http://www.freenetpages.co.uk/hp/a.pusztai

Private consultant; formerly Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB 21 9SB, Scotland UK. Born in Budapest (Hungary) in 1930 and got his first degree in Chemistry at the Eotvos Lorand University Natural Sciences Faculty, Budapest in 1953. He then became a scientific associate worker with Prof. E. Szorenyi at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Biochemistry Institute in Budapest. In December 1956, after the crushing of the Hungarian revolution by the Soviet army, he fled Hungary and went to London with a Ford Foundation Scholarship where he received a PhD degree in biochemistry and physiology from the University of London. He did his postdoctoral studies at the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, after which at the invitation of the Nobel-laureate Dr R.L.M. Synge, he joined the latter's protein chemistry department at the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland in 1963. He was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Chemistry of University of Illinois Medical Center between 1967 and 1968. After his return to Aberdeen he worked at the Rowett till his "official" retirement as a senior scientist in 1990. From 1990 to end of 1998 he was engaged in research as a Senior Research Fellow of the Rowett at the request of the Institute's Director and coordinated six major research programmes, and several national and European research programmes till, as a result of his disclosures on their GM-potato work, his contract was prematurely terminated and not renewed for 1999. Since then he has been giving lectures on the results of their GM-potato work and on the dangers of genetic engineering of crop plants used for human/animal food/feed all over Britain, Europe and the World. From 2001 he has been collaborating in a Norwegian Research Council-funded GM food research programme at the Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, University of Tromso, headed by Professor Terje Traavik. During his lifetime of research he has published over 300 primary scientific papers, 9 scientific books, participated and gave lectures at hundreds of scientific meetings and co-owned major international patents. He is married to Dr Susan Bardocz an internationally well-known scientist who was a part of their research team of GM-potato work and is now also a collaborator in the Tromso research project on the safety of GM foods.

David Quist

Ecosystem Sciences Division, Environmental Science, Policy and Management
151 Hilgard Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 947203110; email: dquist@nature.berkeley.edu

Microbial ecologist at the University of California-Berkeley and co-author of the recent Nature study on transgenic contamination of traditional maize landraces in Mexico. His current research focuses on the mechanisms and consequences of gene transfer into the environment, utilizing transgene markers as detection systems for ecological research. He is also working with institutions around the world on the development and implementation of national biosafety policies.

Peter Rosset

Former Co-Director, Institute for Food and Development Policy, Oakland, California USA

Agricultural ecologist and rural development specialist, and is co-director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First), a leading hunger, food and agricultural policy think tank based in Oakland, California, USA.  He has written extensively on the agronomic, ecological, and economic impacts of agricultural technology, including genetic engineering of crop varieties and alternatives based on agroecological principles.  He has an A.B. with honours in biology from Brown University, and M.Sc. in applied entomology from Imperial College of the University of London, and a Ph.D. in agricultural ecology from the University of Michigan.

Peter Saunders

Professor of Applied Mathematics at King's College, London. He has a BA in mathematics from the University of Toronto and a PhD in theoretical astrophysics from the University of London, but has been working in biology for over 30 years. Author of close to 100 papers and the book, An Introduction to Catastrophe Theory (1981), and coedited volumes, Beyond neo-Darwinism, the Epigenetic Approach to Evolution , 1984; Theoretical Biology , Epigenetic and Evolutionary Order from Complex Systems 1990. His current research is on modelling complex systems, and in particular problems in global warming and in diabetes. He has also written several papers on the precautionary principle.

Veljko Veljkovic

Center for Multidisciplinary Research and Engineering, Institute of Nuclear Sciences VINCA, P.O.Box 522, 11001 Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Fax: +381 11 453 686, E-mail: veljko01@hotmail.com
BSc in Metallurgy, MS in Chemistry, PhD in Theoretical Physics, was at the Laboratory for Theoretical Physics, Institute of Nuclear Science Vinca, Belgrade, Yugoslavia until 1985 where his research focused on theoretical solid state physics, material science and biophysics. He is currently with the Laboratory for Multidisciplinary Research, Institute of Nuclear Science Vinca, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where his main research areas are bioinformatics, protein engineering and AIDS research. In particular, his current scientific interest is on structure/function analysis of proteins and design of peptide mimetics; interaction between HIV envelope protein and immune system; role of the molecular mimicry in pathogenesis of AIDS; and the role of recombination in horizontal gene transfer.

Oscar B. Zamora

Department of Agronomy, University of the Philippines Los Banos-College of Agriculture (UPLB-CA), College, Laguna, Philippines. Tel. (6349) 536-2217/ 2466/ 2468, Tel/Fax  (6349) 536-2468. E-mail: obz@mozcom.com

Professor of Agronomy, UPLB-CA and one of the early critics of green revolution and genetic engineering approaches to agricultural production in developing countries. He obtained BS in Agricultural Chemistry and MSc in Agronomy at UPLB-CA and Ph.D. in Agricultural Systems and Crop Physiology at the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1983.

He has authored/co-authored 15 refereed scientific journal articles, authored/edited three books on integration of sustainable agriculture in the agriculture curriculum, and written and presented more than 75 papers/articles in popular magazines, national and international conferences, conventions, seminar- workshops and meetings.

He has served in his government's delegation to the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity and FAO International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (1996-1998). He has served on the board of trustees of a number of national and international non-government organisations. He is active in the national and international advocacy and campaign on issues (genetic engineering, IPR, globalisation/trade liberalisation, etc) that are threats to sustainable agriculture.

Dr. Judy Carman, BSc(Hons) PhD MPH.

Dr Judy Carman is based in Australia.  She has a Batchelor of Science, an Honours Degree in Organic Chemistry, a Ph.D. in Medicine in the field of nutritional biochemistry and metabolic regulation, and a Master of Public Health specialising in epidemiology and biostatistics.

She has worked at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Division of Human Nutrition (now the Division of Health Sciences and Nutrition), in HIV/AIDS, in national injury surveillance and analysing data from Divisions of General Practice. She was the Senior Epidemiologist in the Communicable Disease Control Branch of the South Australian Department of Human Services, investigating outbreaks of disease in the state, particularly food-borne disease. She is a Director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research. 

She also has many years of experience teaching at various tertiary institutions, including an agricultural university, was a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University and is currently an Affiliate Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Health at the University of Adelaide. She is the spokesperson on GM foods for the Public Health Association of Australia. She has also advised parliamentarians, select committees, government and non-government organisations and industry bodies on various matters.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
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