Scientists Find Common Viral Promoter Found
in Most GE Foods Increases Cancer Risk for Humans

Nov. 17/99

Press Release: Dormant viruses can be reactivated with genetically modified
organisms - new research see also <>

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promoters which are recombinogenic should be immediately withdrawn from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crops containing transgenic DNA should also be immediately withdrawn from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 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 Table of contents /Volume 10/ no. 1.