(Shakespeare on Biotechnology - continued)

Slide 25: Using Genetic engineering to remove allergens from food. Many of our traditionally bred food items contain natural allergens. Use this same technology to eliminate allergens from food

Slide 26: hypoallergenic wheat. By changing the levels of expression of a gene called thioredoxin scientists have been able to reduce the allergenic effects of wheat and other cereals. Alternatively, if the allergen is know scientists can engineer plants that have their allergen genes turned off.

Slide 27: “Bt or not Bt”- Case study

Slide 28: "As firmly as I hope for fertile England.
Thus are my blossoms blasted in the bud
And caterpillars eat my leaves away
Henry VI 3."
explaination of Bt technology

Bottom panel: familiar to Shakespeare – pest are a chromic problem with corn production
Top panel: The bacterium Bacillus thuringensis produces a toxin lethal to Lepidopterans (butterflies and moths).
Middle panel: The genetic engineering approach: The Bt-toxin gene is moved from the bacterium and expressed in corn. Caterpillars eating the corn are therefore killed.

Slide 29: Potential problem with the use of Bt corn: There is differency between a grub and a butterfly. Effect of Bt on Lepidoptera. What is the affect of Bt on non-target Lepidopterans like the Monarch butterfly?

Slide 30: “do no harm?”-Hamlet – If we are to continue to produce food on the scale that we do we will not be able to do “no harm” to the environment. However, we should utilize those technologies the minimize the risk to the environment. Field studies do not support the claim that Bt-corn adversely affects Monarch populations. However, more sophisticated strategies for engineering plants should be used to prevent the expression of Bt-toxin in corn pollen. This will minimize the transfer of Bt-toxin to the milkweed plants upon which the Monarchs feed.

We must also not forget that the biggest threats to the Monarch butterfly are loss of habitat (urban sprawl) and aerial spraying of agrichemicals that do not discriminate between good and bad insects.

Slide 31: “Corn for the rich men only
Finally on the subject of corn (and biotechnology in general) there is the contention that biotech crops are the tools of powerful multinational corporations and governments to be used to exploit weaker nations. If this “Neocolonialism” is true then it is not a problem of biotechnology per se but rather a failing of the human condition. And so perhaps…

Slide 32: “Ambition should be made of sterner stuff” The choice is ours as to how we will use or abuse any technology. However, evaluation of each technology must be done in as informed a manner as possible.

Slide 33: - Let us now consider another crop – rice - “what will this sister of mine do with rice?” The winters tale 4.3

Engineering of Golden rice – introduction of three genes (2 plant, 1 bacterial) to enable rice to synthesize b-carotene.

Slide 34: Why rice? Miracle Food – eaten on a daily basis by more than 1/2 of the world’s population.

Slide 35- Why Golden rice: Vitamin A deficiency is a major nutritional problem in the world. Golden rice the “Golden child” of the biotech industry. Great idea but yet to be a proven technology. Why advertise it before preliminary data are available to support the benefits of the technology.?

Slide 36 Despite the promise of Golden rice it will not be the singular solution to a problem as big as Vitamin A deficiency. Another part of the solution- vitamin A sweet potato “And that's a good root.”-The merry wives of Windsor 4.1. Vitamin A rich Sweet potato – alternative technology to Vitamin A rice. Funded by the World Bank. Classical breeding used to increase b-carotene content of traditional varieties.

Slide 37: Moving on to another crop – Cotton. Chemical usage for cotton 1992. Of 208 agrichemicals tracked by the United States Geologic Survey, 78 are used on cotton. Cotton represents 4% of U.S. farmland but requires 50% of pesticides. Why not seek more environmentally favorable means to protect these crops?

Slide 38: Bt cotton. Reduction in some areas from 12 sprays to 1 per growing season. However, these plants must be planted in such a manner to help prevent the development of resistant insects.

Side 39: “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit”
Frankentony vs Tony theTiger. Frankentony is the mascot of Greenpeace who claims to have won “victory” in Europe due to a ban on genetically engineered foods. However, Europe maintains some of the most chemically intensive agriculture in the world. Thus, potential benefits of biotechnology cannot be used. Likewise, companies like Gerber, despite the fact that they are owned by the biotech giant Novartis, refuse to use GE crops in their products. Similarly, McDonalds’s refuses to use GE-potatoes yet uses potatoes that are typically sprayed with a variety of agrichemicals every 4-7 days. Refusal of GE crops by these companies is not done on the basis that GE-crops are less safe than conventional crops but rather because of marketing strategies aimed at protecting the “bottom line”.

Slide 40: Argument: It is not a problem of food production but rather one of distribution. "Making a famine where abundance lies,- Sonnet 1". Explaining the “paradox of plenty”

Slide 41: What other factors contribute to “feeding the world”? Is it only a matter of food production? No, farmers need roads to move their produce to market and starving people need roads so that relief supplies can be delivered to them. Road in Jamaica – Through the prime coffee growing regions: European Development Fund, The Inter-American Development Bank and the Japan Bank of International Cooperation – 3 stage road building project. Similar projects in other developing nations.

Slide 42: Why all the fuss to increase food production anyway? the world must be peopled. – Much ado about nothing 2.3
The technology used to produce the food to feed everyone during Shakespeare’s lifetime could not feed the people in my lifetime and today’s technology may not be able to feed the 9-12 billion predicted to inhabit the earth in 2050.

Slide 43: population growth curve. In 1611 there were less than 1 billion people in the world. Presently there are 6 billion and by 2050 there will be a predicted 9-12 billion.

Slide 44: “Brother we done deeds of charity….”
Richard III – G8 member nations = WWII enemies
Are the problems of society and the world so insurmountable that achievement of a peaceful world is impossible. Consider that only 60 years ago the G8 member nations were embroiled in the second world war. Those same nations today are part of the greatest economic alliance the world has ever known. This shows very positively that warring nations can be peacefully unified, however there is much yet to do

Slide 45: “brother we done deed of charity II”-Richard III
The G8 member nations account for 14% of the world’s population but together control 65% of the world’s wealth. This inequity in wealth distribution is a significant hurdle to overcome if we ever hope to achieve significant reduction in poverty, suffering and hunger around the world. Approximately half of the world’s population lives on less than US$2/day. A friend should bear his friends infirmities.
It is somewhat unfortunate to find that only three of the eight richest nations in the world are found in the top 10 per capita contributors to the U.N. Of all that these nations do in the way of philanthropy and development projects more must be done.

Slide 46: What is it ye would see? THE TEMPEST 2.1 Here is everything advantageous to life.
We have come a very long way is a very short period of time. From the very molecule of DNA itself to considering social and economic issues of a global scale. Such is the power of DNA. Let us use this technology wisely for the betterment of mankind and the good of the planet.

Slide 47: The humorous man shall end his part in peace.

Slide 48: Peace be with you! – measure for measure 3.2

Additional slides:

Slide: “ I am transformed, master, am I not?” – Comedy of Errors 2.2. Used to introduce plant transformation technologies – gene gun and Agrobacterium.

Slide: “I am rough and woo not like a babe”-Taming of the Shrew. To introduce the reality of history

Slide: “The purple testament of bleeding war.”– War in Shakespeare. The word “war” appears in all but six of Shakespeare’s works.

Slide “We were not all unkind, nor all deserve, The common stroke of war”. – Timon of Athens 5.4 Countries in which wars were fought in 1999 – (Parliamentary Human Rights Group [UK] )Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Bougainville/Papua New Guinea, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Chechnya/Russian Federation, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic, Congo, Republic Of, Croatia, Cyprus, East Timor, Eritrea Ethiopia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israeli Occupied Territories And Southern Lebanon, Kashmira, Liberia, Mexico, Moluccas, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tibet, Turkey, Uganda, Western Sahara. This does not include countries that participated (e.g. U.N. member nations)

Tue, Jul 24, 2001