World Scientists' Statement
Calling for a Moratorium on GM Crops and Ban on Patents
We the undersigned scientists call upon our Governments to:
1. We are extremely concerned over the continued release and commercialization of transgenic crops, food and animal-feed products in the face of growing scientific evidence of hazards to biodiversitv, food safety, human and animal health, while neither the need nor the benefits of genetic engineering agriculture are yet proven.
1.1 New scientific evidence have convinced us of the need for an immediate moratorium on releases.
1.1.1. Herbicide resistant transgenes have spread to wild relatives by cross-pollination in both oilseed rape and sugar beet,1 creating many species of potential superweeds. One study shows that transgenes may be up to 30 times more likely to escape than the plant's own genes2
1.1.2. Bt-toxins engineered into a wide range of transgenic plants already released into the environment may build up in the soil and have devastating impacts on pollinators and other beneficial insects3
1.1.3. Serious doubts over the safety of transgenic foods are raised by new revelations on the results of animal feeding experiments. Potatoes engineered with snowdrop lectin fed to rats caused highly significant reduction in weight of many organs, impairment of immunological responsiveness and signs suggestive of viral infection.4
1.1.4. Research from the Netherlands show that antibiotic resistant marker genes from genetically engineered bacteria can be transferred horizontally to indigenous bacteria at a substantial frequency of 10-7 in an artificial gut5
1.1.5. Researchers in the US found widespread horizontal transfer of a yeast genetic parasite to the mitochondrial genome of higher plants6, raising serious concerns over the uncontrollable horizontal spread of transgenes and marker genes from transgenic plants released into the environment.
2. The patenting of living organisms, cell lines and genes under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement are sanctioning acts of piracy of intellectual and genetic resources from Third World nations7, and at the same time, increasing corporate monopoly on food production and distribution. Small farmers all over the world are being marginalized, threatening long term food security for all8.
3. The Governments of industrialized nations, by voting for patents on organisms, cell lines and genes, including human genes, are in danger of allowing corporations unrestricted exploitation of their citizens and natural resources through the treaties being negotiated in the WTO and other fora Environmental standards, food safety standards and even basic human rights will be sacrificed to corporate financial imperatives9.
4. Governmental advisory committees lack sufficient representation from independent scientists not linked to the industry. The result is that an untried, inadequately researched technology has been rushed prematurely to the market, while existing scientific evidence of hazards are being downplayed, ignored, and even suppressed10, and little independent research on risks are being carried out.
5. The technology is driven by an outmoded, genetic determinist science that supposes organisms are determined simply by constant, unchanging genes that can be arbitrarily manipulated to serve our needs; whereas scientific findings accumulated over the past twenty years have invalidated every assumption of genetic determinism11. The new genetics is compelling us to an ecological, holistic perspective, especially where genes are concerned. The genes are not constant and unchanging, but fluid and dynamic, responding to the physiology of the organism and the external environment, and require a stable, balanced ecology to maintain stability.
1. Brookes, M. (1998). Running wild, New Scientist 31 October; Snow, A. and Jorgensen, R. (1998). Costs of transgenic glufosinate resistance introgressed from Brassica napus into weedly Brassica rapa. Abstract, Ecologicil Society of America, Baltimore, Aug. 6, 1998.
2. Bergelson, J., Purrington, c.B. and Wichmann, G. (1998). Promiscuity in transgenic plants. Nature 395, 25.
3. Crecchio, C. and Stotzky, G. (1998). Insecticidal activity and biodegradation of the toxin from B acillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki bound to humic, acids from soil, "Soil Biology and Biochemistry 30", 463-70, and references therein.
4. Leake, C. and Fraser, L. (1999). Scientist in Frankenstein food alert is proved right. UK Mail on Sunday, 31 Jan.; Goodwin, B.C. (1999). Report on SOAEFD Flexible Fund Project RO818, Jan. 23, 1999.
5. MacKenzie, D. (1999). Gut reaction. New Scientist 30 Jan., p.4.
6. Cho, Y., Qui, Y.L., Kuhlman, P. and Palmer, J.D. (1998). Explosive invasion of plant mitochondria by a group I intron. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 95, 14244-9.
7. See Shiva, V. (1998). Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, Green Books, London; also Latin American Declaration on Transgenic Organisms, Quito, 22 Jan. 1999.
8. The Corner House (1998), Food? Health? Hope? Genetic Engineering and World Hunger, Briefing 10.
9. See Mander, J. and Goldsmith, E. eds. (1996). The Case against the Global Economy and for a Turn toward the Local, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco.
10. See note 4.
11. See Ho, M. W. (1998, 1999). Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare? The Brave New World of Bad Science and Big Business, Gateways Books and Third World Network, Bath and Penang.
Scientists involved in the Statement:
Signed (136 scientists from 27 countries):
Update on 21st October 1999
DI Gertrude Kaffenbock. Ph.D. candidate, Agricultural Economist, St. Polton, 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 Matrovic, MD, MS, Vice-President, Croatia Natural Law Party, Croatia
Dr. Tewolde Egziabher, Agronomist, Min. of the Environment, Ethiopia
Dr. Herve Le Meur, Biomathematician, Univ. Paris, France
Dr. George Capouthier, Biologist, Univ. Paris, 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,
Manhattan, KS (retired) - present address Hyderabad, India.
Dr. Bruno D'Udine, Behaviour Ecologist, University of Udine, Italy
Dr Giorgio Cingolani, Agricultural Economist, 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 Relations Team,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. Marirada Silva, Molecular Biologist, Portuguese Catholic Univ., 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.
Dr. David Bellamy, Biologist and Broadcaster, London, UK
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. 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
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 Epstein, School of Public Health, Univ. Illinois, Chicago, USA
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
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
Dr. Arthur Rybeck Jr D.D.S. Dentistry and Organic Farmer, Wheeling, USA
Contact: Mae-Wan Ho/Angela Ryan, Institute of Science
To sign on to the Statement, please also visit the website of ISIS:
Institute of Science in Society at www.i-sis.dircon.co.uk. The Institute of Science in Society is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to research and education. Its aims are to develop and promote sustainable science, socially responsible science, science for public good and the integration of science in society.