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[SANET-MG] covert GM approval by windblown pollen
As a note of clarification about Papaya the seeds of Papaya are edible
and consumed extensively. The reason that the seeds (embryo and
endosperm) but not the leaves and fruit contained contaminating trans
genes is that the fruits arose by pollination from windblown pollen
produced by GM papaya in test plots in the general area of the harvested
There seems to have been a covert effort to obtain GM approval by fait
accompli . Furthermore the owners of the patent covering the polluting
pollen , presumably USDA, Cornell University and Seminis (now part of
Monsanto) may at some time in the near future seek payment for their
Test seems to show GM papaya rampant
Contamination, cross breeding suspected
An independent test has found a sample of what was thought to be an
ordinary papaya plant from a farm in Kamphaeng Phet province was
actually genetically modified, raising suspicions it was genetically
contaminated or crossbred with the GM variety, international
environmental group Greenpeace said yesterday.
The test, conducted by Hong Kong-based laboratory GeneScan, confirmed
that the seeds of the Florida variety of papaya collected from a farm in
Sai Ngam district contained GM genes, said Patwajee Srisuwan, genetic
engineering campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
She said samples of the leaves and the flesh of its fruit showed no GM
genes, leading to suspicions the papaya might have been genetically
contaminated or cross bred with GM papaya grown nearby.
``If it was originally a GM variety, both its leaves and the flesh of
its fruit should show positive results,'' Ms Patwajee said.
In late April, Greenpeace collected samples as part of its follow-up of
the examination on the government's action against the alleged spread of
Kamphaeng Phet is one of the main papaya-producing provinces supplying
produce to factories in the North, Greenpeace said, adding that some
farmers there obtained GM papaya seeds from the Agriculture Department's
research station in Khon Kaen province.
Greenpeace sent samples of the Khaekdam Tha Phra variety grown in the
station and nearby farms to the Hong Kong lab last year which confirmed
they were genetically modified. Environmental advocates later demanded
the department investigate the spread of the GM variety as the station
had sold papaya seeds to over 2,600 farmers in several provinces.
Thailand has not yet allowed open field trials and commercial production
and sales of GM crops.
The department later collected 8,912 samples from farms allegedly
growing the papaya obtained from its Khon Kaen station. It found that
329 samples from 85 farms were genetically modified.
The department did not inform the public of the result, so the
organisation, along with other independent organisations such as the
National Human Rights Commission, launched their own probes into the
case, including the latest sample submission to the lab for tests.
Greenpeace also sent samples of Khaekdam Tha Phra papaya from farms in
Rayong's Klaeng district, three samples of which were found to be GM.
Ms Patwajee said the new findings showed clearly the failure of the
department's attempts to manage GM crops as they were able to spread
from its research station, and the department was not able to destroyed
all the plants.
She said Greenpeace would submit its findings to the Agriculture and
Cooperatives Ministry and the National Human Rights Commission.
Surawit Wannakrairoj, assistant professor in biotechnology for crop
improvement at Kasetsart University, said cross breeding between GM and
ordinary plants was the worst fear in terms of environmental protection.
This was because the end results of such developments were not yet
clear. That was why the country should come up with a clear policy on GM
production before pushing ahead with it, he said.
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