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DORMANT VIRUSES CAN BE REACTIVATED WITH GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS - NEW RESEARCH


Nov. 17/99

1) PRESS RELEASE

Press Release: Dormant viruses can be reactivated with genetically modified organisms - new research, see also www.scup.no/mehd/ho

New Research Results on Genetically Modified Organisms

The use of the Cauliflower Mosaic Viral promotor (CaMV) has the potential to reactivate dormant viruses or create new viruses in all species to which it is transferred. CaMV is known to be found in practically all current transgenic crops released commercially or undergoing field trials.

This transgenic instability increases the possibility of promotion of an inappropriate over-expression of genes to the transferred species. The development of cancer may be one consequence of such inappropriate over-expression of genes.

The scientists behind the research "strongly recommend that all transgenic crops containing CaMV 35S or similar promoters which are recombinogenic should be immediately withdrawn from commercial production or open field trials. All products derived from such crops containing transgenic DNA should also be immediately withdrawn from sale and from use for human consumption or animal feed".

These research results will be published in an article by scientists Mae-Wan Ho, Angela Ryan, and Joe Cummins, researchers at The Open University in England and University of Western Ontario, Canada. The article, "Cauliflower Mosaic Viral Promotor - A recipe for Disaster?", will appear in the December issue of the international scientific journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease (No 4, 1999). See www.scup.no/mehd/ho for pre-publication full text.

This article confirms the growing concern over the safety aspects of the use of viral promoters in the production of genetically manipulated food products, hence the recommended precautionary measure of withdrawing all such products. This uncertainty around the use of viral promoters should add fuel to the arguments of the anti-genetically modified organism lobby groups.

The Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Professor Tore Midvedt, who is head of Medical Microbiology and Ecology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is willing to discuss the serious implications of this article with journalists who wish to obtain further information.

Professor Midvedt is heavily involved in the sensitive issues around genetically modified organisms. He aims to take a neutral standpoint and is actively encouraging both sides of the debate to use the journal as a forum for discussion. He believes that we need an open debate, with strict guidelines to control the potential dangers of genetically modified organisms.

Background material for this new research can be found in an excellent article co-authored by Mae-Wan Ho, "Gene technology and Gene Ecology of Infectious Diseases". The article can be read in the same journal at www.scup.no/mehd/ Table of contents /Volume 10/ no. 1.

 


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