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USDA May Approve Rice with Human Genes in Missouri

From: Organic Seed Alliance P.O. Box 772 Port Townsend, WA 98368
360-385-7192 fax 360-385-7455

Supporting the ethical stewardship & development of seed

Action Alert: BioPharming ­ Rice

Help the USDA/APHIS make a sound choice.

Please take a moment to send them comments regarding two very important biopharming permits.

The USDA/APHIS is requesting comments on field tests of humanized rice in Missouri. Ventria Bioscience, a biopharmaceutical company based in Sacramento, Calif., has two permit requests pending with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Biotechnology Regulatory Services to grow about 200 acres of pharmaceutical rice in southern Missouri this year. This rice contains humanized genes.

The first USDA docket on this request (full text on USDA web site) states: ³These transgenic plants have been modified to express the human (Homo sapiens) glycoprotein lactoferrin.² The second docket refers to the ³field-testing of rice, Oryza sativa, genetically engineered to express human lysozyme.² Please go to the USDA/APHIS web site and make comments.

The deadline of March 25th is rapidly approaching.

Your comments would be best received if they are polite, concise and include any pertinent professional affiliations that you have.

We encourage your response to contain the following points: ? While rice is an inbred (self-pollinates) and crosses at relatively low rates, there is still the potential of contamination via pollen. Even more likely is the dispersal of seed through incorrect handling/distribution. This has occurred with transgenic tomato seed at the University of California Davis and at other organizations. ? The inadvertent distribution of this rice into the food supply is a risk that is not justifiable at the present time. ? Additionally, the potential damage to rice exports to Europe and other countries would have severe economic consequences for US rice farmers. ? Please exercise the Precautionary Principle and reject this application for field tests.

Go to the USDA site: and enter the keyword ³rice² and the following dockets will appear:

? 05-006-1 APHIS-2005-0013 Ventria Bioscience; Availability of
Environmental Assessment for Field Test of Genetically Engineered Rice Expressing Lactoferrin 02-23-2005 General Docket Notice 03-25-2005 ? 05-007-1 APHIS-2005-0014 Ventria Bioscience; Availability of Environmental Assessment for Field Test of Genetically Engineered Rice Expressing Lysozyme 02-23-2005 General Docket Notice 03-25-2005 Click on the Docket ID and you will have the opportunity to both read the full report and give comments. There is a button that takes you through the submission process.

Please pass this on.

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