Dr. Elaine Ingham's Testimony (Executive Summary) before the (New Zealand) Royal Commission on
Executive Summary of DR. Ingham's Testimony:
- Genetically engineered organisms have not been adequately assessed for their
human health effects. It is inadequate to subject ORGANISMS to the tested [sic] required
chemical pesticides, and conclude that there will be no adverse or risky effects from
release of those organisms based on that testing.
- A graduate student of mine, no longer working in the field of engineered organisms, and
some research on a particular engineered bacterium that had been approved by the USEPA for
field testing. No environmental effects were detected during pesticide or toxicity testing
this organism. However, Michael Holmes discovered that the engineered bacterium,
planticola with a additional alcohol gene, killed all the wheat plants in microcosms into
the engineered organisms was added 1 . None of the wheat plants were killed in microcosms
which the not-engineered parent organism or just water were added.
- This bacterium was engineered to produce alcohol from plant debris, so alcohol could be
produced after raking up grass straw residues instead of burning fields. This organism
have been released to the real world by placing the residue left at the bottom of the
container following grass straw alcohol production on fields as fertilizer. With a single
we know that bacteria can spread over large distances, probably world-wide.
- These bacteria would therefore get into the root systems of all terrestrial plants and
produce alcohol. The engineered bacterium produces far beyond the required amount of
per gram soil than required to kill any terrestrial plant. This would result in the death
terrestrial plants, because the parent bacterium has been found in the root systems of all
plants where anyone has looked for its presence. This could have been the single most
impact on human beings since we would likely have lost corn, wheat, barley, vegetable
trees, bushes, etc, conceivably all terrestrial plants.
- It is clear, therefore, that current testing procedures required by US regulatory
completely inadequate in assessing the potential risks involved with genetically
organisms. Until such time as adequate testing procedures are instigated and carried out,
engineered organisms should not be considered to have acceptable risks.
- Holmes, M. and E.R. Ingham. (1999) Ecological effects of genetically engineered
Klebsiella planticola released
into agricultural soil with varying clay content. Appl. Soil Ecol. 3:394-399.
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