1.Would 'Land-mine Detecting Plants' Work?
2.Russian study data
3.Russia is cautious about GM foods
4.Assessing the Transfer of Genetically Modified DNA from Feed to Animal Tissues

Sometimes even the crew who subscribe to AgBioView let out a snort of disbelief - see item 1.

1.Would 'Land-mine Detecting Plants' Work?
- Jonathan Gressel This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
[via AgBioview]

Did I miss something?

I can just envisage how this will be done. First one will have to plow and disc the land-mine infested field so that puny Arabidopsis can compete with the indigenous vegetation (or will they run a spray rig across it with herbicide? - statistically safer), then drill in the Arabidopsis, which is hopefully herbicide resistant so other species won't overgrow it, spray herbicide to prevent this problem and then you have to get down on your knees and crawl through the field to see if the Arabidopsis changed color. A great way to clear land-mines with a plant. Luckily I am red-green color blind, so I won't volunteer.

In the old days, the engineer who designed a bridge stood under it when the first overloaded cargos were sent across to make sure it met specifications. For their sake, I hope the genetic engineers who designed this plant will not try to meet that type of challenge.


Land-mine Detecting Plants Created
 - Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine, Oct. 10, 2005 Via

Danish scientists have made a scientific discovery with significant humanitarian and environmental potential. They have shown that it is possible to produce plants which change colour in the presence of specific compounds within the soil, opening the way for the first bomb and land-mine detection plant.

2.Russian study data
Comment by Glenn Ashton of Safeage in South Africa on 'GM Soy Affects Posterity - Results of Russian Scientists' Studies'

I have put the Russian study data (study copied below) into an email table; I did this to clarify the results for myself and hopefully this will do the same for the rest of you.

These are precisely the sorts of studies we have been asking for for years; all other independent studies hint at similar conclusions.

I say try this on pigs as well. Lets have good science and repeat these and similar studies, ad infinitum, until we have clear answers, either way. After all, this is the food we eat.

What is interesting also is that the GM soy has an insignifant but notable difference in the number of born rats; yet the report shows that a large proportion were non-viable when born. Not stat significant but interesting nevertheless. Linked to trypsin ihibitors, oestrogen disruption, ????. We need more studies on this.

And people, lets not forget. This is the food that Monsanto would like to feed to Africa and is already feeding to SA, as they so proudly crowed in the Biowatch meeting last week. And let us not forget that they said in Parliament that it is unethical to test these foods on humans. Yet its fine to feed them to us?


Russian study data

feed supplied
control (normal rations)
GM soy
normal soy

females gave birth
4 (of 6)
4 (of 6)
3 (of 3)

born rats
44 (ave 11 per litter)
45 (ave 11.25 per litter)
33 (ave 11 per litter)

dead rats

percent dead rats

Rats still alive

3.Russia is cautious about GM foods
United Press International, October 25 2005

MOSCOW, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Russian scientists say they must study the implications of genetically modified food before such food is widely introduced in their nation.

"Genetically modified plants and animals may cause completely unexpected processes and consequences," Irina Yermakova, a senior scientist at the Institute for Higher Neural Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said. She made the statement during a seminar Tuesday at a science conference in Moscow.

The scientist called for more extensive research into the impact of GM organisms on people, the Novosti news agency reported. She said an experiment, which involved feeding rats GM soy, had revealed high mortality rates and growth retardation among offspring. Yermakova also proposed a ban on imports of transgenic products.

Those attending the seminar called for adoption of safety requirements for GM foods and mechanisms to verify compliance with such requirements, RIA Novosti said.

4.Assessing the Transfer of Genetically Modified DNA from Feed to Animal Tissues
- Raffaele Mazza et al., Transgenic Research, October 2005
[via AgBioview]

Abstract: In Europe, public and scientific concerns about the environmental and food safety of GM (Genetically Modified) crops overshadow the potential benefits offered by crop biotechnology to improve food quality. One of the concerns regarding the use of GM food in human and animal nutrition is the effect that newly introduced sequences may have on the organism. In this paper, we assess the potential transfer of diet-derived DNA to animal tissues after consumption of GM plants. Blood, spleen, liver, kidney and muscle tissues from piglets fed for 35 days with diets containing either GM (MON810) or a conventional maize were investigated for the presence of plant DNA. Only fragments of specific maize genes (Zein, Sh-2) could be detected with different frequencies in all the examined tissues except muscle. A small fragment of the Cry1A(b) transgene was detected in blood, liver, spleen and kidney of the animals raised with the transgenic feed. The intact Cry1A(b) gene or its minimal functional unit were never detected.

Statistical analysis of the results showed no difference in recovery of positives for the presence of plant DNA between animals raised with the transgenic feed and animals raised with the conventional feed, indicating that DNA transfer may occur independently from the source and the type of the gene.

From the data obtained, we consider it unlikely that the occurrence of genetic transfer associated with GM plants is higher than that from conventional plants.