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Old 05-03-2009, 04:07 PM   #1
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This week in PNAS Early Edition

"Transgenic multivitamin corn through biofortification of endosperm with three vitamins representing three distinct metabolic pathways"
by Shaista Naqvi, Changfu Zhu, Gemma Farre, Koreen Ramessar, Ludovic Bassie, Jrgen Breitenbach, Dario Perez Conesa, Gaspar Ros, Gerhard Sandmann, Teresa Capell, and Paul Christou
[Full Text]The biofortification of staple cereal grains may help address micronutrient deficiencies present in many developing countries. Genetic engineering has created vegetables enhanced with single vitamins, although this fails to address the multiple deficiencies affecting countries whose inhabitants eat only a single staple crop like rice. Shaista Naqvi et al. used direct DNA transfer to increase levels of -carotene, folate, and ascorbate in South African elite white corn. The authors bombarded 10- to 14-day-old corn embryos with small metal particles coated with 5 gene constructs: corn (Zea mays) phytoene synthase and Pantoea ananatis carotene desaturase to increase -carotene levels, rice dehydroascorbate reductase to increase levels of ascorbate, E. coli folE (encoding GTP cyclohydrolase) to increase folate, and the selectable marker bar. The engineered corn contained 169 times the amount of -carotene as wild-type white corn, 6 times as much vitamin C, and double the normal amount of folate. Although bioavailability studies have not yet been performed, a typical portion of engineered corn could provide the complete daily requirement of -carotene and 20% of the recommended amount of vitamin C, according to the authors. —C.A.
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The engineered corn contained 169 times the amount of -carotene as wild-type white corn, 6 times as much vitamin C, and double the normal amount of folate.




The toxic effects of beta carotene found in several large studies is cited in this promotion of "natural" beta carotine. In general, most nutritionists feel that beta carotene supplements should be natural and reflect the composition of whole foods.
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?t...rient&dbid=125

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Unlike supplements, foods rich in beta-carotene pose no lung cancer risk. Synthetic beta-carotene supplements have been found to increase the risk of both colorectal and lung cancer in smokers, especially those who also drink alcohol. A study published by an international team in the January 2004 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention indicates that beta-carotene consumed as part of whole foods has no such negative effects. This study, which pooled data from seven large cohort studies running between 7 and 16 years and involving a subject population of 399,765 participants in North America and Europe, found that beta-carotene from foods was not associated with any increased risk of lung cancer among current smokers or non-smokers. Other carotenoids in foods (lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene) were also found to have no association with lung cancer risk. (February 26, 2004)
Food sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme. To maximize the availability of the carotenoids in the foods listed above, the foods should be eaten raw or steamed lightly.
Beta carotene metabolism occurs in concert with a number of other substances in whole food.

A corn containing 165 times the normal amount of beta carotene is not a "whole food".
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:42 AM   #2
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Vitamins! They're going to pack the corn with vitamins to appeal to our desire to be healthy! Who will be able to resist this corn!
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:20 PM   #3
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A corn containing 165 times the normal amount of beta carotene is not
a whole food and is not good for us. That is well beyond what our bodies should be handling.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:40 PM   #4
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The transgenic kernels contained 169-fold the normal amount of β-carotene, 6-fold the normal amount of ascorbate, and double the normal amount of folate. Levels of engineered vitamins remained stable at least through to the T3 homozygous generation. This achievement, which vastly exceeds any realized thus far by conventional breeding alone, opens the way for the development of nutritionally complete cereals to benefit the world's poorest people.
This is from the abstract of the article. Makes no sense to me. There are a lot more than 3 nutrients in normal corn.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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Yum yum! Engineered vitamins so we can all have nutritionally complete cereals. Don't you wish these people would share their definition of nutritionally complete?
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:54 AM   #6
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Their definition is driven by what can be sold to the public as nutritionally complete.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:16 PM   #7
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S/R 32: Dumping GMOs in Africa (Lawrence Kojo Tsimese)

Here is some background on agriculture in Africa - I think when people refer to the the World's Poor they are talking about Africa.

Africans don't want gmo crops and here's why:


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Many decision makers overestimate the benefits of pesticide use and overlook the economic, health and environmental costs. They presume that absence of synthetic inputs results in low yields and are often unaware of the potential of alternative methods to increase productivity. Farmers in many different cropping systems reveal that more intensive crop production without reliance on pesticides and synthetic fertilizers is feasible when using practices which regenerate agrobiodiversity, make better use of local natural resources or add new productive elements. Renewed donor interest in investing in smallholder agriculture for poverty reduction and food security is most welcome. The challenge is to ensure World Bank-funded agricultural investment programmes, governments’ poverty reduction strategies, the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and FAO’s Anti-Hunger Campaign, be spent on support for ecologically-based methods rather than dependence on agrochemicals.
How genetic engineering comes into the picture I can’t conclude this piece on threats to farmers and farms in Africa without touching on genetic engineering and biotechnology. GE crops promote monoculture. In developing countries, farmers successfully control pests by encouraging biodiversity in their fields and encouraging beneficial insects and crops. FAO points out that more plant diversity has been lost to industrial agriculture than any other cause. GE crops will increase the problem. Scientists have shown that reductions in biodiversity have led to the evolution of aggressive pests and diseases more difficult to control than those from which they have been derived (RA Ennos, The influence of agriculture on genetic biodiversity, BCPC, 1997.) Millions of farmers in developing countries rely on farm-saved seeds for their crops: but once they buy GE they will be dependent on future purchases. Monsanto prohibits seed-saving (Monsanto Roundup Ready: Gene Agreement for Roundup Ready Soybeans, 1996).
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:50 PM   #8
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India doesn't want it either. The European Union doesn't want it either.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:07 PM   #9
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I don't want it either. What can we do about this, if anything?
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:39 PM   #10
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All we can do is keep saying NO loud and clear. And be aware that it is being stuffed down our throats - literally - without our permission.
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