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					 Volume 6, Issue 12                December, 1998                                                                  Published by AG-WEST BIOTECH INC.



                         AG-WEST SPEAKERS H IGHLIGHT GENOMICS ,
                                   COMMUNICATIONS
    Canada requires a national, inte-                                 together the individual, complemen-          trains the necessary professionals, it
grated approach to genomics in order                                  tary strengths of Canadians into a           must decide now whether to support an
to reap the scientific and economic                                   collective program.”                         integrated research effort. Canada has
benefits of this rapidly growing area of                                                                           already fallen behind other industrial-
                                                                         Seven research and technology
biotechnology, Dr. Thomas Hudson                                                                                   ized countries in devoting resources to
                                                                      platforms will be supported through
told Ag-West Biotech’s annual meeting                                                                              genomics, he said. The United States,
                                                                      competitive funding, he said. They are:
on October 29. This can be achieved                                                                                for example, spends 15 times what
                                                                      genome mapping and sequencing;
through support for a multi-partner                                                                                Canada spends on genomic research.
                                                                      functional genomics; genotyping;
research enterprise called Genome                                                                                  Britain spends almost as much as the
                                                                      proteomics; bioinformatics; technology
Canada, he said. Currently, this                                                                                   U.S.; France and Germany also spend
                                                                      development; and medical, ethical,
country does not have a national                                                                                   considerably more than Canada.
                                                                      legal, and social issues.
genomics effort.
                                                                                                                       This country may also lose out on
                                                                          Genomics, the science of decoding
    Genome Canada will involve                                                                                     rapidly developing areas of intellectual
                                                                      the genes and chromosomes of all
universities, public institutions, private                                                                         property if it does not coordinate its
                                                                      living organisms, is at the heart of
firms, research organizations and                                                                                  research efforts, he said. Intellectual
                                                                      biomedicine, health care, agriculture,
government laboratories. “It will                                                                                  property arising from Genome Canada
                                                                      environmental science and biotechnol-
marshal Canada’s current genome                                                                                    research will belong to individual
                                                                      ogy research and development, said
science and attract new investment to                                                                              investigators or institutions. Commer-
                                                                      Hudson.
Canada’s genome science efforts,” he                                                                               cial partners will have preferential
said.                                                                     He gave several examples of its          privileges such as right of first refusal or
                                                                      significance in research and develop-        licences on intellectual property. If
    The organization would consist of
                                                                      ment. Genomics will facilitate the           necessary, Genome Canada will assist,
approximately 700 people in 20
                                                                      cloning of disease genes in plants,          direct and manage successful research
research centres across the country. “It
                                                                      animals and humans. It will lead to the      projects to patent and license the
will accelerate Canada’s genomic
                                                                      development of new drugs – for               discoveries.
research productivity by bringing
                                                                      example, at least half of the new drugs
                                                                                                                       The organizers of Genome Canada
                                                                      to be developed in the next decade will
                                                                                                                   are seeking approximately $450 million
 I   N S I D E            T     H I S        I   S S U E              come from gene research. As well,
                                                                                                                   over five years from government and
                                                                      genomics will assist in the development
 Addition to U of S Ag Building Will Focus on                                                                      private sources. Some money, from
                                                                      of higher-yielding crops, and new
 Biotech......................................................... 3                                                government granting agencies, is in
                                                                      diagnostic tools for biotechnology. It
                                                                                                                   place. For example, the Medical
 President’s Column: Saskatchewan’s                                   can also be used to enhance environ-
                                                                                                                   Research Council, the National
 Opportunities in Animal Biotech............... 3                     mental research. Genomics will have a
                                                                                                                   Research Council and the Social
 Regulating Livestock Animals and Fish                                huge economic benefit, launching new
                                                                                                                   Sciences and Humanities Research
 Derived from Biotechnology in Canada..... 8                          companies and creating jobs. As well,
                                                                                                                   Council have agreed to funding.
                                                                      it can become the basis for addressing
 Managing Information Technology in                                                                                Industry agencies have also committed
 Agriculture................................................... 9     medical, ethical, legal and social issues.
                                                                                                                   support.
 SABIC Column: CWB to Provide Leadership                                Hudson stressed that in order for
                                                                                                                      Genome Canada is asking the
 for Introduction of Transgenic Wheat ....... 10                      Canada to ensure that it attracts and
                                                                                                                   federal government for $250 million in
 new money over five years. Hudson                   there are some risks in new technolo-              risk, but must hear that there are steps
 thinks the government will make such                gies, while explaining how such risks              to reduce risk.
 a commitment, in light of the critical              are being minimized. For example,
                                                                                                            •A credible, open and responsive
 importance of this research effort.                 Ontario farmers who grow Bt corn to
                                                                                                        regulatory system: Dr. Powell cited the
                                                     control European corn borer are
 Hudson, one of the organizers of Genome                                                                case of Health Canada, and the
                                                     managing the risk of some insects
 Canada, is Ass’t Professor in the Depts.                                                               controversy over BST. He said that
                                                     developing Bt-resistance by planting 20
 of Medicine and Human Genetics,                                                                        Health Canada’s refusal to effectively
                                                     per cent to 30 per cent of their fields in
 McGill University, and Ass’t Physician                                                                 respond to consumer concerns about
                                                     refugia (i.e. non-Bt altered seed).
 at the Montreal General Hospital                                                                       milk is leading to public rejection of an
 Research Inst. He is also Assistant                     However, he also noted that the                important food source.
 Director, Centre for Genome Research,               science behind risk management, in
                                                                                                           •Demonstrable efforts to reduce
 Whitehead Institute/MIT Centre for                  this case, planting refugia, must be
                                                                                                        levels of uncertainty and risk: An
 Genome Research. E-mail:                            turned into practical advice which can
                                                                                                        example is farmers’ use of refugia to
 thudson@genome.wi.mit.edu                           be used on the farm. Otherwise, it will
                                                                                                        control insect resistance in Bt crops.
                                                     be too costly or inconvenient for
                                                     farmers to take advantage of new                      •Evidence that actions match
 Communications Key to Health of                     technology, he said.                               words.
 Biotech
    In his address to the Ag-West                        Risk management on the farm is an              Powell is Assistant Professor, Department
 annual meeting, Dr. Douglas Powell                  additional cost for farmers, and one for           of Plant Agriculture, and Director of the
 focused on the need for everyone in the             which they should be compensated,                  Agri-Food Risk Management and
 food biotechnology industry – includ-               said Powell. Although consumers                    Communication Project, at the Univer-
 ing researchers, government regulators,             demand that farmers take measures to               sity of Guelph. E-mail:
 industry representatives and agricul-               control risks associated with new                  dpowell@uoguelph.ca
 tural producers – to effectively commu-             technologies, they are not willing to
 nicate the risks and benefits of biotech-           pay more for the food that is produced,
 nology.                                             he said. That means farmers have to
                                                     recover their costs by capturing
     Even though the use of biotechnol-              additional market share.
 ogy, such as genetic engineering, is not
 high on consumers’ list of concerns                     If a food is perceived to carry a               N        E      W          S
 about food, other food safety issues                specific disease risk, as occurred with
 such as bacterial contamination affect              beef in the United Kingdom, it be-                 Taskforce on Ontario Biotechnology
 public perceptions of all food-related              comes stigmatized, said Powell. He                 Strategy
 developments, said Powell. “Public                  listed several steps to reducing this
                                                                                                            A taskforce, headed by Allelix
 concern about food safety is a wedge                stigma, all of which involve communi-
                                                                                                        Biopharmaceuticals Inc. President and
 putting every agricultural product at               cation in some form:
                                                                                                        CEO Graham Strachan, will make
 risk.”                                                  •Effective and rapid surveillance              recommendations to Energy, Science,
    He stressed that the biotech                     systems: The food supply must be                   and Technology Minister Jim Wilson
 industry must “banish no-risk mes-                  monitored closely.                                 on strategies to advance biotechnology
 sages,” pointing out that consumers are                                                                research and development in Ontario.
                                                        •Effective communication about
 suspicious of such claims. Powell said                                                                 Wilson is cited as saying, “Biotechnol-
                                                     the nature of risk: Consumers can
 the best approach is to acknowledge                                                                    ogy is in the same position as telecom-
                                                     handle the message that there is some

     T HE A GBIOTECH B ULLETIN                                                     A G -W EST B IOTECH                B OARD   OF D IRECTORS
  Articles, announcements and suggestions are welcome.                            Ms. Shelley Brown                   Ms. Susan Milburn
                                                                                  Ernst & Young                       Secretary-Treasurer
  Peter McCann, President                                                         Mr. John Buchan                     RBC Dominion Securities Inc.
  Ag-West Biotech Inc.                                                            Saskatchewan Agriculture & Food     Dr. Louise Nelson
                                                                                  Dr. Pete Desai , Chair              Agrium Inc.
  101 - 111 Research Drive                                                        Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc.        Dr. Ashley O’Sullivan
  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 3R2                                         Dr. Harold Fast                     AAFC Saskatoon Research Centre
  (306) 975-1939 Fax (306) 975-1966                                               Farmer                              Dr. John Patience
  E-mail: agwest@agwest.sk.ca                                                     Dr. Kutty Kartha                    Prairie Swine Centre Inc.
  Web: http://www.agwest.sk.ca                                                    NRC-Plant Biotechnology Institute   Dr. John Stewart
                                                                                  Mr. Brent Kennedy                   University of Saskatchewan,
                                                                                  Vice-Chair                          College of Agriculture
                                                                                  AgrEvo Canada Inc.                  Dr. Carolyn Weeks-Levy
                                                                                                                      BIOSTAR Inc.
                                                 The AgBiotech Bulletin is produced by The Signature Group Inc.
  489 2nd Avenue North, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7K 2C1 Ph: 306-934-1772 Fax: 306-664-6615 E-mail: siggroup@sk.sympatico.ca Web: www.signat.com
                                         Funding assistance is provided by: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The AgBiotech Bulletin                                                     2
                             President’s Column
                             Saskatchewan’s Opportunities in Animal Biotech
                             by Peter McCann, President, Ag-West Biotech Inc.


     With the total world market for the animal health and nutrition industry expected to exceed US$19 billion by 2000,
  Saskatchewan’s animal biotech sector should be moving aggressively to capture a larger piece of the action.
     There are currently a number of development areas which offer immediate expansion opportunities for our existing
  animal biotech sector:
     •With the public sector placing emphasis on the demand for food safety, the market for probiotics – which can
  eliminate bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli in cattle, pigs and poultry – is of great importance. It is estimated that a
  patented probiotic for Salmonella would have a global market value of US$200 million annually.
      •Diagnostic tools such as monoclonal antibodies can be used in immunoassays and can detect and identify a variety of
  viruses, bacteria and parasites. Nucleic acid probes are useful in the detection and recognition of a wide variety of patho-
  gens, and can increase diagnostic accuracy over traditional methods. This is a major growth area which currently has huge
  investments under way. Companies like Heska, Synbiotecs and Idexx are aggressively entering the world market with new
  transgenic products.
      •Medicated feed is under pressure to be discontinued due to concerns for human safety. New feeds which can replace
  the current medicated products will produce major advances in feeding and generate huge returns for those companies
  which are successful in their development. The use of nutritional products such as enzymes in feed formulations can
  improve nutrient availability from feed, with the potential to then lower feed costs and reduce waste volumes. The market
  for nutritional products, currently valued at US$4.6 billion, is growing at a rate of 8 per cent a year.
      •Considerable activity in underway in vaccine development, with small animal and poultry representing the largest
  area of growth potential. The world’s biological vaccine market is worth more than $2 billion a year and is growing by 5
  per cent annually.
      •Immune process supplements are an important way to develop alternate methods for disease control which do not
  require the use of antibiotics and injections. Transgenic manipulation of commensual gut or rumen organisms has consid-
  erable potential for improving nutrition, gut development and health in animals. Identifying genes that control disease
  resistance will be an important step in avoiding the use of medication. As the science progresses, genome manipulation
  will be further developed to identify, isolate and characterize the genes that affect the outcome of an infection.
      Eight private organizations and 15 institutions are currently active in the research and development of animal health
  and nutrition-related technologies in Saskatoon. Working with this infrastructure, Ag-West Biotech is exploring ways to
  facilitate the acceleration of research and the launch of new Saskatchewan-developed products designed to meet the global
  potential for animal biotechnology.
  Contact: Peter McCann at 306-975-1939; e-mail peter.mccann@agwest.sk.ca

munications was 10 years ago. It’s poised to take off. We need a strategy that will            “We have two ideas in mind with
help the industry grow and compete internationally.”                                       this addition,” says Stewart. “The first
                                                                                           is to strengthen our animal science and
   The 16-member taskforce includes stakeholders from finance, research, agri-
                                                                                           food science facilities. Animal and
food and government, as well as the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical
                                                                                           Poultry Science and Applied Microbi-
industries. The taskforce’s discussion paper and recommendations will be posted
                                                                                           ology were not included in the original
on the ministry’s web site by year-end.
                                                                                           agriculture building, something which
Contact: The EST Ministry web site is at www.est.gov.on.ca                                 we have always planned to rectify.
                                                                                               “The second idea is to create a first
                                                                                           class biotechnology research program.
                                                                                           The new 6th floor addition will not
Addition to U of S Ag Building Will Focus on Biotech                                       require any teaching facilities, so it can
                                                                                           be dedicated to research labs and pilot
    A $10 million addition to the University of Saskatchewan’s agriculture building        plants. Areas of research will include
will be dedicated to the biotechnology sector, says Dr. John Stewart, dean of the          beef genome mapping, animal biotech-
college.

                                                                    3                                                 December 1998
 nology, biochemistry and food biotech-      Crop Protection: The Times They Are          Cyanamid Agricultural Products
 nology. As part of the overall project,     A Changin’                                   Research Division. The imidazolinones
 we will also be improving our plant                                                      work on an enzyme which is present in
 growth facilities in the basement of the        New crop protection technologies
                                                                                          plants but not in animals, birds, fish or
 building and adding some equipment.         are transforming the basic premise of
                                                                                          insects.
 So the overall expansion will cover         Canada’s Crop Protection Institute.
 animal, plant and microbial biotech.”       While chemical pesticides will remain            The second research alliance
                                             a vital part of crop protection strategies   announced by Cyanamid is a global
    Stewart says that the college has        into the foreseeable future, in the next     technology collaboration with Zeneca
 applied for $14 million in funding          century almost all crops will be geneti-     Seeds Inc. in the breeding of high
 through the Canadian Foundation for         cally enhanced through science. By           performance, imidazolinone-tolerant
 Innovation. The foundation will supply      2005, many pests and diseases will be        canola varieties. This initiative utilizes
 up to 40 per cent of total infrastructure   controlled by some form of biotechnol-       Cyanamid’s expertise in herbicide
 costs. The Agriculture College already      ogy, according to the Organization for       tolerant crops and weed control, and
 has $3 million designated for applied       Economic Cooperation and Develop-            Zeneca Seed’s expertise in biotechnol-
 microbiology and a food science centre,     ment (OECD).                                 ogy and advanced plant breeding.
 plus an extra $4 million in excess of
                                                 As a result of this trend, delegates     Zeneca Seeds will market the results of
 requirements from fund raising, for a
 total contribution of $7 million.           to the Crop Protection Institute’s 46th      this collaboration and will also sub-
                                             national conference and annual               license varieties to other seed compa-
    All design for the sixth floor           meeting approved a new direction for         nies.
 addition has been completed and             the Institute. According to Institute
 tenders have been placed.                   President Lorne Hepworth, the new            Contact: Suzanne Thompson
                                             common bond that brings industry             (Cyanamid), Tel: 973-683-3254; Louise
 Contact: Dr. John Stewart at 306-966-                                                    Sawatzky (UGG), Tel: 204-944-5526;
 4050.                                       members together as a trade association
                                             will be “the manufacture, development        Brian Markwardt (AgriPro), Tel: 913-
                                             or distribution of plant life science        384-4940
                                             products and technologies for applica-
                                             tion in agriculture, forestry and pest
                                             management.”
 T   R E N D S                               Contact: Kathryn Boothby, Manager,           Forage Genetics Expands Alfalfa
                                             Communications, Crop Protection              Research Program
                                             Institute, 21 Four Seasons Place, Suite          Forage Genetics and FFR have
 Development in the Human Genome             627, Etobicoke, Ontario M9B 6J8.
 Project (HGP)                                                                            agreed to establish a strategic research
                                             Phone 416-622-9771; fax 416-622-             alliance to develop improved alfalfa
     New goals for the U.S. HGP for the      6764; e-mail boothbyk@cropro.org             varieties. The coordinated research
 next five years have been published in                                                   program will include technology
 Science. The goals include the produc-                                                   development, plant breeding and
 tion of a working draft of the human                                                     testing.
 genome by 2001 and a complete and
 accurate sequence by 2003, two years                                                         FFR, an American plant breeding
 ahead of the originally scheduled                                                        organization owned by several eastern
 completion date of 2005.                                                                 and southern farmer cooperatives, has
 For more information see the following
                                             A     L L I A N C E S                        extensive forage breeding and testing
                                                                                          facilities in the eastern corn belt.
 web sites: www.ornl.gov/hg5yp
 www.nhgri.nih.gov/ and                      American Cyanamid Allies with                Contact: Mark McCaslin (Forage), Tel:
 www.sciencemag.org/content/vol282/          Zeneca, UGG, AgriPro                         608-786-2121, E-mail:
                                                                                          mccaslin@centuryinter.net
     Meanwhile, the United States                American Cyanamid Company has
 Department of Energy’s Joint Genome         entered into two separate research
 Institute (JGI) has surpassed its 1998      alliances for the development of
 goal of sequencing 20 million base pairs    herbicide tolerant crops. The first, an
 of human DNA. The achievement               agreement with AgriPro Seeds, Inc.           Bayer and Paradigm Genetics Search
 marks a ten-fold increase in production     and United Grain Growers Limited,            For New Herbicides
 output over the previous year.              aims to introduce new varieties of
                                             wheat, tolerant to the herbicide                 Bayer AG and Paradigm Genetics
 Information on the JGI is available from    imidazolinone.                               Inc. of the United States have signed a
 the following sites: http://www.lbl.gov/                                                 contract under which they will collabo-
 Science-Articles/Archive/20-million-           The imidazolinones are a unique           rate in the search for novel screening
 bases.html and http://www.ornl.gov/         family of crop protection products for       targets which will lead to the develop-
                                             weed control that were developed by          ment of new herbicides. Paradigm will
 hgmis/publicat/hgn/v8n2/01doe.html

The AgBiotech Bulletin                                           4
lend its expertise in identifying gene       accepting project proposals for $1         Pioneer Poised For Profit
function, bioinformatics and assay           million in research funding provided by
                                                                                            Pioneer Hi-Bred reaffirmed its
development. Genes identified as             SAF.
                                                                                        commitment to increase earnings per
being responsible for new targets will
                                                 Sask Pork has targeted the funding     share at a double digit rate, while
be subjected to high throughput
                                             for environmental research directed        maintaining a 20 per cent or greater
screening.
                                             towards the sustainability of the pork     return on equity. Pioneer also an-
   Bayer researchers will use the assays     industry in the province. Sask Pork will   nounced a target of 3 per cent growth
developed by Paradigm to screen              disperse the one-time government           in market share in the North American
against its extensive library of chemical    research funding of $1 million to          corn market in 1999. The seed com-
compounds, then evaluate the leads in        researchers through the Pork Industry      pany expects to accomplish this
vivo, developing and commercializing         Sustainability Program.                    through the introduction of 50 new
those compounds that prove to be                                                        corn hybrids in 1999 – adding to the 62
                                                 “The pork industry has requested
innovative and highly effective                                                         new corn hybrids introduced over the
                                             that the funding be used for research
herbicides.                                                                             previous two years. These products are
                                             and development with an emphasis on
                                                                                        coupled with a sales initiative aimed at
Contact: Jochen Wulff (Bayer), Web           environmental concerns related to
                                                                                        helping farmers access these new
site: http://www.bayerus.com; John           manure management and air quality,”
                                                                                        technologies through competitive
Ryals, (Paradigm) Tel: 919-544-5578 .        Upshall said. New research initiatives
                                                                                        pricing and finance programs.
                                             must be locally relevant, technically
                                             superior and focused on overall indus-     Contact: Web site: www.pioneer.com
                                             try priorities.
                                             Contact: Doug Winsor, Saskatchewan
                                             Agriculture and Food, Regina at 306-
                                             787-5201.
F    I N A N C E

Cargill To Purchase Continental’s                                                       I   S S U E S
Worldwide Grain Assets
    Cargill Inc. and Continental Grain       AgriBioTech Acquires 3 Seed                Paper Opposes Proposed EPA Plant
Company have signed a definitive             Businesses                                 Pesticide Rule
agreement for Cargill to acquire
Continental’s worldwide commodity                AgriBioTech Inc. (ABT), in                 The Council for Agricultural
marketing business. The transaction          conjunction with Garst Seed Com-           Science and Technology (CAST), an
includes Continental’s grain storage,        pany, a member of Advanta Seeds            international consortium of 36 scien-
transportation, export and trading           Group, has agreed to purchase the          tific and professional societies, released
operations in North America, Europe,         alfalfa business unit of AgriPro Seeds     an issue paper which rebuts the U.S.
Latin America and Asia. Not included         Inc. AgriBioTech is purchasing the         Environmental Protection Agency
are Continental’s domestic and               alfalfa business unit and the interna-     (EPA)’s proposed plant pesticide rule.
international poultry, pork, cattle,         tional sorghum business unit, while        Under statutes developed for chemicals
aquaculture, flour milling, animal feed      Garst is purchasing the business units     applied externally to plants, the EPA
and nutrition businesses, or its liquefied   relating to the sales of corn, soybeans,   proposes to regulate genetically
petroleum gas trading and financial          wheat, cotton, sunflowers and domestic     engineered plants containing genes for
services businesses. The transaction is      sorghum. The acquisition will give         pest resistance that have been intro-
expected to be completed in the first        ABT ownership of two of the four           duced by techniques of recombinant
quarter of 1999.                             leading alfalfa breeding programs in the   deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA). Plants
                                             world.                                     with such genes would be designated
Contact: Terri McCaslin (Continental),                                                  pesticides.
at 212-207-5560, Web site                        ABT has also agreed to acquire
www.continentalgrain.com; Linda              Moore Seed Processors and Production          The CAST panel members argue
Thrane (Cargill), at 612-742-6218.           Plus+. Moore, located in Grand             that the designation of plants as
                                             Prairie, Alberta, is the leading handler   pesticides is indefensible on scientific
                                             of creeping red fescue. Production         grounds for the following reasons:
                                             Plus+ is located in Plainview, Texas. It
                                                                                            •Pest resistant plants produced by
                                             is a leading producer and distributor of
                                                                                        genetic engineering may be indistin-
Funding For Pork Industry Research           forage and grain sorghum in the U.S.
                                                                                        guishable from plants bred for pest
                                             and Mexico.
   Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food                                                    resistance by conventional methods.
(SAF) Minister Eric Upshall has              Contact: John C. Francis, (ABT), at        The latter are exempt from the EPA
announced that Sask Pork is now              800-966-2562 or 702-566-2440.              proposed guidelines, even though the


                                                                5                                                   December 1998
 end result of conventional breeding is      CGIAR Turfs ‘Terminator’
 the same as with the use of recombi-
 nant DNA strategies.                            The so-called “Terminator” gene          A    T T I T U D E S
                                             and related genetic seed sterilization
     •Scientific panels have stated that     technology has been banned from the
 genetically modified crops should be                                                     AIC Supports Biotechnology
                                             crop breeding programs of the world’s
 judged on their safety, allergenicity,      largest international agricultural               The Agricultural Institute of
 toxicity and other properties, and not      research network. The policy was             Canada – an organization representing
 the means by which the trait has been       adopted by the Consultative Group on         6500 agricultural professionals and
 introduced. Thus, the properties of the     International Agricultural Research          scientists – has issued a statement in
 modified plant, in terms of risk, are       (CGIAR) at a meeting at the World            support of “the responsible use of
 important, not the technique used to        Bank in Washington October 30th.             biotechnology as a tool for the ad-
 modify the plant.                                                                        vancement of science and technology
                                                Reasons for the ban are CGIAR’s
     •Numerous mechanisms which                                                           towards a more sustainable future”.
                                             concerns about the potential for the
 confer resistance to pests exist in         Terminator to have negative conse-               The statement notes that implicit
 plants. It is scientifically illogical to   quences for food security, genetic           in the responsible use of the tools and
 state that they must be regulated if they   diversity, biosafety, sustainable agricul-   resulting products of biotechnology is
 result from recombinant DNA technol-        ture and plant breeding. CGIAR’s             consideration of five guiding principles:
 ogy.                                        policy statement, as presented by the
                                                                                             1. A recognition that Canada’s
    •No evidence exists that the plant’s     Genetic Resources Policy Committee
                                                                                          current science-based regulatory system
 level of resistance to pests creates        reads as follows:
                                                                                          provides the fundamental support
 hazards in the environment.                     The CGIAR will not incorpo-              necessary to encourage future innova-
     If the EPA rules go into effect, the        rate into its breeding materials         tion while ensuring the transparency
 CAST panel foresees the likelihood of           any genetic systems designed to          required to enhance consumer under-
 serious economic consequences in the            prevent seed germination. This           standing and acceptance.
 food industry. Among the potential              is in recognition of (a) concerns
                                                                                              2. A commitment to advancing
 scenarios discussed in the paper:               over potential risks of its
                                                                                          scientific knowledge—now and in the
                                                 inadvertent or unintended
     •Labeling plants as pesticides                                                       future.
                                                 spread through pollen; (b) the
 would undermine public confidence in            possibilities of sale or exchange
 the safety of the food supply. If plants        of inviable seed for planting; (c)
 are safe for human consumption, there                                                       3. A consideration of the funda-
                                                 the importance of farm-saved
 is no reason to label them as a pesti-                                                   mental role that agriculture and agri-
                                                 seed, particularly to resource-
 cide.                                                                                    food production plays in the Canadian
                                                 poor farmers; (d) potential
                                                                                          economy.
    •Adoption of the proposed EPA                negative impacts on genetic
 regulations would discourage develop-           diversity and (e) the importance             4. An appreciation for the multi-
 ment of pest-resistant minor crops or           of farmer selection and breeding         disciplinary nature of food and fibre
 crops resistant to minor pests, which           for sustainable agriculture.             production.
 would delay the time until chemical             Adoption of the CGIAR policy to              5. A respect for the right to schol-
 pesticide use can be decreased.             ban Terminator met little resistance         arly debate on how and where the tools
     •Enforcing the EPA regulations          from member states and donors                of biotechnology can best be applied in
 would increase the regulatory burden        attending the annual meeting even            the agriculture and agri-food produc-
 on all companies as well as on the          though it had been expected that US          tion system.
 EPA. Small companies, who are the           government officials would oppose the
                                                                                              AIC has also identified 22 individu-
 ones most likely to develop pest            policy. However, only the Canadian
                                                                                          als prepared to respond to requests for
 resistance in minor crop plants, could      delegate expressed reservations about
                                                                                          information on biotech related to their
 be forced out of business or find it        the policy.
                                                                                          areas of expertise.
 necessary to change their business             Ultimately, it was agreed that
 plans due to increased paperwork and                                                     Contact: Brenda Heald, Communica-
                                             CGIAR scientists might retain the
 scientific data gathering.                  option to study the technology in the        tions Coordinator (AIC) at 613-232-
                                             laboratory.                                  9459 (x303); fax 613-594-5190;
 Contact: Kathy S. Buhman (CAST) at                                                       e-mail: news@aic.ca
 515-292-2125, x24; E-mail                   Contact: CGIAR Web site: at
 kbuhman@cast-science.org                    www.cgiar.org:80/chair.htm



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The AgBiotech Bulletin                                           6
Food Labeling: Much Ado About               or rice, are the goals of experiments      genes now in hand, genetic engineers
Nothing?                                    being conducted by the USDA’s              may soon be able to increase the ratio
                                            Agricultural Research Service scientists   of amylopectin to amylose.
    Two articles appearing in the
                                            at the Western Regional Research           Contact: Olin D. Anderson, ARS
AgBioForum about the issue of GM
                                            Center in Albany, California.
food labeling argue that certain types of                                              Western Regional Research Center, 800
labeling may be a benefit rather than a         Researchers are investigating          Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710.
liability to the industry.                  proteins in wheat flour, called high-      Phone 510-559-5773; fax 510-559-
                                            molecular-weight glutenins, that are       5777
    Writing about communication in
                                            critical to making the strong, elastic
the agbiotech field, Caron Chess of
                                            dough necessary to produce high-
Rutgers University advocates voluntary
                                            quality yeast-raised breads. A number
food labeling as a means of promoting
                                            of research projects are underway:
genetically modified foods to consum-
ers wary of GMOs. Chess’s research              •Geneticists Olin D. Anderson and
into acceptance of food biotechnology       Ann E. Blechl used genetic engineering     UF Biotech Breakthrough Drives
showed that people who were most            to boost the amount of high-molecular-     World’s First Biomass-To-Ethanol
supportive of GM foods were those who       weight glutenins in wheat kernels and      Plant
believed (falsely, at the time of the       the flour ground from those kernels. So
study) they had already consumed GM         far, plants with high levels of high-           A breakthrough biotech “bug”
food products. She also points to           molecular-weight glutenins have            developed by a University of Florida
research about other technologies           retained the trait through successive      scientist will help produce 20 million
which indicates people perceive             generations. Ongoing experiments aim       gallons of ethanol fuel annually at the
unfamiliar technologies as posing a         to further increase the elasticity of      world’s first commercial biomass-to-
higher risk than more familiar tech-        dough through genetic modification.        ethanol plant. The plant will be the
nologies.                                                                              first to convert organic waste biomass
                                               •Senior lab technician Jeanie Lin       into ethanol, a form of alcohol used as
    Hence GM food labels, rather than       has succeeded in moving wheat              an industrial chemical and as a clean-
flagging the marked products as             glutenin genes into barley plants, with    burning fuel.
‘hazardous,’ may actually reassure          some of the plants producing kernels
consumers that such products are            with good levels of wheat glutenin.            The plant’s technology and operat-
commonplace and therefore safe. In          Since barley flour lacks the high-         ing system is based upon genetically
other words, familiarity breeds accep-      molecular-weight glutenins found in        engineered bacteria. These microor-
tance.                                      wheat flour, adding wheat glutenin         ganisms produce a high yield of ethanol
                                            genes to barley could open the door to     from biomass such as sugar cane
    In addition, researchers at the                                                    residues, rice hulls, forestry and wood
                                            new products from barley flour.
University of Saskatchewan in Saska-                                                   wastes and other organic materials.
toon, SK make the claim that positive,          •David A. Somers at the University
voluntary food labeling of product-         of Minnesota has used wheat glutenin           The organisms were genetically
based GMOs represents an opportunity        genes furnished by Albany researchers      engineered by cloning the unique genes
for agbiotech companies to advertise        to produce oat plants which contain        needed to direct the digestion of sugars
attributes of the products. It is sug-      the wheat genes. These experiments         into ethanol, the same pathway found
gested that engendering a perception        may lead to the development of new         in yeast and higher plants. These
on the part of consumers that they will     foods that rely on new oat flours.         genes were inserted into a variety of
benefit from a GM product tends to                                                     bacteria possessing the ability to use all
                                                Researchers are also investigating     sugars found in plant material but that
override any reservations they may
                                            modifications in wheat starch. Wheat       normally produce acetic and lactic
have about GMOs.
                                            starch is composed of molecules known      acids as fermentation products. The
                                            as amylose and amylopectin. Wheat          ethanol genes served to redirect the
                                            flour low in amylose improves its          digestive processes in these bacteria to
                                            suitability for making pasta and frozen    produce ethanol at 90 per cent to 95
   N EW B IOTECHNOLOGIES                    dough products.                            per cent efficiency.
                                                •Scientists expect that boosting the       BC International Corp., based in
                                            amount of amylopectin in starch may        Dedham, Massachusetts, holds exclu-
                                            result in a value-added, low-amylose       sive rights to use and license the UF-
                                            flour. Geneticist Kent F. McCue, has       engineered bacteria.
N EW B IOTECHNOLOGIES                       isolated two genes that direct wheat to
                                                                                       Contact: Lonnie Ingram, Institute of
                                            make amylopectin-producing enzymes
                                            known as starch-branching enzyme I         Food and Agricultural Sciences, UF at
 Designer Flours One Step Closer                                                       352-392-5924; Clinton Norris (BCI),
                                            and starch-branching enzyme II. He
   Designer flours from genetically         used starch genes from corn to isolate     Tel: 781-461-5700
 modified wheat, barley, oats, corn, rye    the two in wheat. With the wheat


                                                               7                                                  December 1998
 Top Tomatoes                                                                                 genetic variability for carotenoid
                                                                                              content was available. In the course of
     U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists have released three new tomato                 developing these lines, molecular
 breeding lines that contain about 10 to 25 times more beta carotene than typical             markers for Beta and a modifier gene
 tomatoes. The new tomato lines were developed for use in processing into paste,              which influences Beta were identified
 juices and sauces. High beta-carotene cherry and beefsteak type market tomatoes              for use in future marker-assisted
 will also be released as specialty tomatoes for the fresh market.                            selection breeding.
    The high beta-carotene releases were developed via introgression of the domi-             Contact: John Stommel (ARS), at
 nant Beta gene from the wild tomato species Lycopersicon cheesmanii into domestic            301-504-5583, E-mail:
 tomato. Conventional breeding was employed to develop the released lines.
                                                                                              jstommel@asrr.arsusda.gov
 Biotechnology-related approaches were considered but not utilized since existing



 R   E G U L A T O R Y


                           SARAS Column
                           Regulating Livestock Animals and Fish Derived from Biotechnology in Canada
                           by Bill Anderson Ph.D., Saskatchewan Ag-biotech Regulatory Affairs Service



       Biotechnological advancements in the last decade have often outpaced the ethical and safety considerations of the
   resulting biotech products. Genetic engineers have the technical capacity to develop transgenic livestock and fish, produc-
   ing animals with diverse attributes, from improved growth and disease resistance to the production of biopharmaceuticals.
       Although all of these modifications are developed with the goal of improving existing methods and products, it is
   essential that those developing these innovations establish and maintain communication with the general public and
   government regulatory bodies.
      On November 2-3, a multi-stakeholder consultation on “Regulating Livestock Animals and Fish Derived from Biotech-
   nology” was held in Ottawa. The event was sponsored and supported by Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection
   Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The consultation involved
   approximately 100 participants with diverse backgrounds and interests, including federal and provincial governments, non-
   government organizations, First Nations, academia, the food industry and associations with interests in biotech, breeding,
   animals and ethics.
      The government’s objective for this consultation was to bring together technical experts and interested parties so that
   important issues could be identified. It was anticipated that the exchange of viewpoints and information would generate
   knowledge that could assist in the development of a regulatory regime for these biotech products.
      Plenary sessions, with presentations from recognized experts in the science, regulation and ethics of transgenic animals,
   helped set the tone for later discussions. Breakout sessions dealt with more specific areas, with smaller groups of 15- 25
   people discussing the following topics:
      •intended fate and food use of transgenic animals
      •release of transgenic animals into the environment
      •animal husbandry
      •production of biopharmaceuticals from transgenic animals
      •tracking of animals, registration and livestock identification
      •environmental evaluation of transgenic fish
      •zoonotic and animal health risk
      The organizing committee assured all participants that this consultation was the first step in the process of developing
   guidelines and regulation for livestock animals and fish derived from biotechnology. It is very important that the govern-
   ment maintains its open and transparent approach to developing these guidelines.
   Contact: Dr. Bill Anderson at 306-975-1939 or e-mail: bill.anderson@agwest.sk.ca

The AgBiotech Bulletin                                             8
                                           agricultural marketing enterprise in the    a provincial or regional event targeted
O PPORTUNITIES                             area, which aims to network a commu-
                                           nity of agbiotech players. Among the
                                                                                       towards farmers and/or agribusiness is
                                                                                       invited to apply for sponsorship of
                                           organizations affiliated with the           information technology speakers. A list
Canamino In Receivership, Purchaser        consortium are the Stormont, Dundas         of criteria and a printable application
Sought                                     and Glengarry Community Develop-            form are available online.
                                           ment Corporation, Natunola Health
    Canamino Inc. is a Saskatoon high-                                                     •Board members and executives of
                                           Inc. (a cosmetic company), Tri-County
tech company formed to manufacture                                                     farm organizations, farmers, and
                                           Protein Inc. (a mechanical crushing
cosmetic ingredients from oats. Unfor-                                                 agribusiness will be provided with
                                           plant), Dow AgroSciences, Mycogen,
tunately the company was not able to                                                   specific training opportunities to utilize
                                           the University of Guelph, OMAFRA,
obtain adequate funding to continue                                                    and evaluate information technologies
                                           and Agriculture and Agri-Food
operations and KPMG Inc. was                                                           for use within their own organizations.
                                           Canada.
appointed as Receiver on October 2,                                                    A series of workshops will demonstrate
1998. KPMG is actively seeking a           Contact: James de Pater (Stormont,          and provide information on a variety of
purchaser for Canamino’s assets. Ian       Dundas and Glengarry Community              information technologies including:
Schofield, Senior Vice President of        Development Corp.) at 613-932-4333;         Web site development; on-line work-
KPMG Inc, advises that initial re-         Fax 613-932-0596; e-mail:                   shops; Internet conferencing; and chat,
sponses are very encouraging and that      depater@igs.net                             news or discussion groups.
he is hopeful that a purchaser can be                                                      •Agricultural groups are invited to
found on a going concern basis.                                                        submit proposals for non-commercial
Contact: Ian Schofield at 306-791-1201                                                 educational Information Technology
                                                                                       Pilot Projects that demonstrate direct
or ischofield@kpmg.ca.
                                                                                       economic benefits to the farm commu-
                                                                                       nity.
                                                                                           •Focus group sessions will be held
                                                                                       to increase co-ordination and co-
Agri-Food/Biotech Diagnostics              R    E S O U R C E S                        operation between groups to reduce
Company Seeks Investors/Alliances                                                      duplication of programs, foster effective
    A newly-formed company (as yet         Managing Information Technology in          learning techniques, and to exchange
unnamed) headquartered in Guelph,          Agriculture                                 information on the latest developments
ON which will use biosensor technol-                                                   in information technology. A list of
                                               Managing Technology for Agricultural    dates and links are available online.
ogy for the detection of pathogens in
                                           Information is an education and
agri-food products, is seeking invest-                                                     Managing Technology for Agricultural
                                           training project which aims to assist
ment partners and alliances to expand                                                  Information is funded by the Canada-
                                           farmers and agricultural organizations
operations.                                                                            Saskatchewan Agri-Food Innovation
                                           to:
For more information contact: Jim                                                      Fund (AFIF) and administered by the
                                              •acquire information on a wide           Agriculture Institute of Management in
Stewart (Agri-Food Quality Cluster Inc.)
                                           range of information technologies;          Saskatchewan (AIMS).
at 519-26-3485; fax 519-826-4118;
e-mail: jstewart.afqc@agncorp.com              •select the appropriate technology      Contact: Brenda Stefanson, Project
                                           for their information needs; and            Manager at 306-477-1657; fax 306-
                                               •gain competency in managing the        477-2861; e-mail:
                                           new technologies to access and share        b.stefanson@sk.sympatico.ca
                                           information.
Ontario Crop Consortium Seeks
                                              Several projects are underway,
Farmers for GM Field Testing
                                           including:
    The Eastern Ontario Identity
                                               •Customized Advanced Internet           New Web Magazine
Preserved Crop Consortium, a Win-
                                           Training to further develop
chester-based organization dedicated to                                                    AgBioForum is a free on-line
                                           agribusiness and farmers’ skills in
advancing the area’s agricultural                                                      magazine which covers economic and
                                           efficiently accessing information on the
technology community, has undertaken                                                   management issues in the agbiotech
                                           Internet. The Project Manager will act
an initiative which supports the field                                                 industry from an international perspec-
                                           as a liaison between the developer and
testing of custom modified or trans-                                                   tive. The second issue of the magazine
                                           the agricultural groups to ensure the
genic crops by area farmers.                                                           will be available in December, 1998
                                           course meets the needs of the partici-
    According to a story in the Ontario    pants. A schedule of training sessions is   and will focus on the theme of industry
Farmer, the consortium hopes to            available online.                           consolidation. The clearly organized,
establish plans with growers by year-                                                  easy-to-navigate site can be found at
                                               •Organizations or agencies hosting      www.agbioforum.missouri.edu.
end. The consortium is one arm of an

                                                               9                                                  December 1998
                             SABIC Column
                             CWB to Provide Leadership for Introduction of Transgenic Wheat
                             By Lisa Jategaonkar M.Sc., Manager, Saskatchewan Agricultural Biotechnology Information Centre


        It is expected that the first varieties of transgenic wheat will be available in the next few years. Some of these
    transgenics may contain agronomic traits: herbicide/disease resistance; later products are expected to contain consumer/
    end-user traits such as starch modifications for processors.
        Due to variations in regulatory systems, Canadian shippers and exporters of grain may be required by the European
    markets to provide a guarantee that shipments of regular varieties do not contain any genetically modified seed. Further,
    shippers will want to ensure that transgenic crops that do not have EU regulatory approval do not gain entry into the bulk
    commodities system as the importing country could then refuse entry. An IP (Identity Preserved) system or segregation of
    transgenics from the bulk commodity system can be costly if the benefits are strictly agronomic and there are no end-user
    benefits to justify the increased costs.
        It is with these issues in mind that the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) has chosen to provide leadership regarding the
    introduction of genetically modified wheat and barley. The CWB used the Moving Up Market ’98 conference in Win-
    nipeg, November 1-3 to profile the issues surrounding the introduction of genetically modified grains.
        SABIC participated in a CWB employee education program to increase the knowledge of biotechnology and the issues
    arising from it. We provided a general overview of biotechnology, a familiarization with the terms and applications of
    biotechnology. Discussion ensued among employees on detection of transgenics, potential consequences and liability “if
    something goes wrong”, and biotechnology regulation. Although many of the visitors commented that they were not
    currently receiving questions on biotechnology, being aware of the potential issues in advance will prepare them for the
    introduction of the first transgenic wheat varieties. The CWB intends to create a biotechnology unit within the Market
    Development Department, which will include sales, communications and operational personnel.
        The CWB is also developing a customer survey related to genetically modified wheat and barley to determine the level
    of customer comfort and knowledge. The CWB has always focused on the marketing of safe, high quality products. The
    CWB will work with the Prairie Region Recommending Committee for Grain to develop a strategy for the registration of
    genetically modified cereals. Quality will still be essential and registered varieties must still be quality products. They will
    work with the industry to develop an effective IP system in order to assure customers that the Canadian industry will be
    able to continue to meet their quality expectations. The CWB is also going to be providing funding for the Rapid Instru-
    mental Objective Testing program to help identify transgenic crops at the country elevator. This will assist in segregating
    transgenics from commodity items.
       The CWB will consult with biotech companies relating to their plans to introduce transgenic wheat and barley
    varieties. They also intend to be involved in the Canadian Biotechnology Strategy and the United Nations Convention
    on Biosafety and Biodiversity. The CWB will also support the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the establishment of a
    capacity-building centre similar to the Canadian International Grains Institute to train international biotech regulators.
        Canada recognizes that it needs to continue to develop new varieties of wheat to remain competitive in the market-
    place. Those involved in the pipeline need to be aware of differences in regulatory requirements and how these will
    influence their markets. This structured discussion among producers, shippers and industry, being led by the Canadian
    Wheat Board, will help to ensure that Canada remains competitive in the marketplace and that the concerns of all
    stakeholders are addressed.
    Contact: Lisa Jategaonkar at 306-668-2660 or e-mail: lisa.j@agwest.sk.ca

                                               Perryfields Holdings Ltd. The charges relate to a genetically modified canola crop
   L EGAL          N OTES                      which cross-pollinated with another field due to an insufficient buffer zone. The
                                               Agriculture Ministry ordered these crops destroyed along with any seed harvested
                                               in the next two years from within a 50-metre radius of the site.
 Monsanto May Be Liable For Test Crop
 Mishap                                           A representative from Perryfields admits that, due to an oversight, the pollen
                                               barrier was too small. However, a Monsanto spokesperson claims that there has
     The UK government is considering          been no environmental damage.
 legal sanctions for alleged environmen-
 tal contamination against Monsanto               A decision about whether the government will proceed with the case is pend-
 and its British sub-contractor                ing. A guilty verdict would result in fines for both companies, and possible jail
                                               time.

The AgBiotech Bulletin                                            10
                                                                                             Crop Protection Institute
E  V
Events     E N T S                                                                              New members of the board of the
                                                                                             Crop Protection Institute are Bruce
January 27 - 28, 1999       Successful Commercialization of Transgenic Animal                Johnson of the Saskatchewan Wheat
                             Protein: Capitalizing on Cost-effective & Efficient             Pool and André Mercure of the
                             Transgenic “Pharming”                                           Coopérative Féderée de Québec.

Venue:                        Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, San Diego, CA
Details:                      This conference will reveal top strategies to capture value    Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
                              in the seed biotech food chain. Hear how top companies
                                                                                                Dr. Jane E. Henney has been
                              are capitalizing on new output traits through acquisitions,
                                                                                             appointed commissioner of the United
                              partnerships and education up and down the value chain.
                                                                                             States FDA.
Contact:                      Call Global Business Research, Ltd. Customer Service at
                              1-800-868-7188 or visit the website at www.global8.com/
                              conference99/tp_cover.html
                                                                                             Plant Biotechnology Institute (PBI)
January 28;                   From the Laboratory to Leadership: Developing                     Royal Hinther has been appointed
February 18;                  Scientific & Corporate Leaders                                 Business Development Officer with the
March 11;                                                                                    NRC-Plant Biotechnology Institute in
April 1, 1999                                                                                Saskatoon. He was formerly with
Venue:                        BC Biotechnology Alliance; Vancouver, BC                       AAFC Saskatoon and Saskatchewan
Details:                      A four-day course designed specifically for executives and     Economic Development.
                              managers in the scientific field. Four separate sessions are
                              offered.
Contact:                      Bal Bains, Tel: 604-221-3026 (x4202), E-mail:                  University of Saskatchewan
                              bal@biotech.bc.ca
                                                                                                 Peter MacKinnon, Q.C. has been
                                                                                             appointed President of the University
                                                                                             of Saskatchewan effective July 1, 1999.
                                                                                             Peter MacKinnon served as Dean of
                                                                                             the College of the College of Law from
                                                                                             July 1, 1988 to June 30, 1998. He also
                                                                                             served as Acting Vice-President
P   E O P L E         W     A T C H                                                          (Academic) from August 1996 to July
                                                                                             1997.
Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC)                                                           MacKinnon will be the University
                                                                                             of Saskatchewan’s eighth president,
    The AIC has elected a new executive team headed by Terry Kremeniuk. Also
                                                                                             replacing George Ivany who has served
elected to executive positions were Vice President Phil England, Treasurer Larry
                                                                                             as University of Saskatchewan presi-
Rosevear, Secretary Dan Rose, and Executive Committee members Wayne Wickens,
                                                                                             dent since November 1, 1989.
Clint McLean and George Arnold.



Ag-West Biotech (AWB)                                                                        VIDO
   New Board members are Dr. Kutty Kartha, Director General of the NRC-Plant                     New members of the Board of the
Biotechnology Institute, Dr. Carolyn Weeks-Levy, Vice-President of Research and              Veterinary Infectious Diseases Organi-
Development at BIOSTAR Inc. and Ms. Shelley Brown, Office Managing Partner of                zation (VIDO) are Dr. Cornelia Kreplin,
Ernst & Young.                                                                               Alberta’s Chief Provincial Veterinarian
                                                                                             and Acting Head of Alberta’s Animal
   Thank you to Dr. Wilf Keller who has completed his term on AWB’s Board of
                                                                                             Health Laboratories Branch, and Brad
Directors.
                                                                                             Wildeman, President of Pound-Maker
                                                                                             Agventures Ltd. of Lanigan,
                                                                                             Saskatchewan. The new chair of the
BIOTECanada                                                                                  Board is Dennis Billo. Donald Winslow is
                                                                                             Vice-Chair.
   Terry Hunsley is the new Executive Director of the BIOTECanada Human
Resource Council (BHRC). Incorrect information was included in the last issue.

                                                                   11                                                      December 1998
                    Visit Ag-West Biotech’s Web Site!                                    We Welcome Your Input

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