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Donna,

I am one who feels the progress made in "genetically engineering" food plants is a good thing. The agriculture industry has been busy engineering more stable, disease-resistant food plants since the early 1980s. The results of these efforts are among those listed on the web site you provided a link for.

With genetically engineered food crops there will be less waste and more opportunities to provide inexpensive nutrition to Americans and people of the world who benefit from our charity.

http://www.geocities.com/artnscience/crossregulation.html

On one of my web pages, I proposed that vaccines against serious illnesses can be produced very inexpensively in plants. Presently those vaccines are extremely expensive and in short supply. Using genetically engineered plants to produce them, these vaccines will be cheap and abundant. The initial development of the first plant may be expensive but that cost spread over acres of plants becomes minimal.

In the table your weblink provides, I recognized several studies I was aware of where plants express vaccine antigens of viruses and/or bacteria. These are safe, nonreplicating proteins that appear to be effective in producing immunity. Although the source of the gene for the vaccine product may have come from a bacterium or a virus, it causes production of only a protein and not a whole virus or bacterium by the plant. So showing the source of vaccine antigen as coming from Rabies Virus does not mean that the plant could ever make an infectious virus. Only enough gene to make the protein and nothing more is inserted. Someone who read my web page sent me a message say that the human study of vaccine antigen expressed in potato worked very well and a paper will be coming out soon.

Making vaccines is very expensive and the product has a limited shelf-life so distribution of protective vaccines stays within affluent cultures. With vaccines produced in plants it would be possible to share the benefit of vaccines with poor countries merely by giving the seeds or we could produce enough ourselves to share merely by planting larger acreage of product.

I have to admit, there are some who feel this knowledge should be discarded because it results in producing something that is no longer exactly like its progenitor. Well, those same people should act up against every kind of program to improve crop success such as the breeding programs that gave us hybrid grain and corn and other agricultural approaches to better crops.

Art
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