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Moore Criticizes Colleagues for Opposing Golden Rice

Contact: C.S. Prakash at (334) 727-8023 or prakash@agbioworld.org
                 Patrick Moore at patrickmoore@greenspirit.com

AUBURN, ALABAMA March 6, 2001-Dr. Patrick Moore, ecologist and co-founder of Greenpeace, stated today that "the campaign of fear now being waged against genetic modification is based largely on fantasy and a complete lack of respect for science and logic." Moore joined over 3,000 scientists from around the world in signing a Declaration in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology, saying that, "In the balance it is clear that the real benefits of genetic modification far outweigh the hypothetical and sometimes contrived risks claimed by its detractors."

Moore, who is now an environmental consultant, was a founding member of Greenpeace. He served for nine years as President of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a Director of Greenpeace International. Recently, however, he broke with Greenpeace, accusing it of abandoning science and following agendas that have little to do with saving the Earth.

Reiterating comments he made to the New Zealand Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, Moore said, "Genetic modification can reduce the chemical load in the environment, reduce the impact on non-target species, and reduce the amount of land required for food crops." He added, "There are so many real benefits from genetic modification compared to the largely hypothetical and contrived risks that it would be foolish to ban genetic modification."

Moore also criticized his former Greenpeace colleagues for claiming that there was "zero benefit" even from such modified plants as Golden Rice, a variety with added pro-vitamin A. Golden Rice was developed by Swiss scientist Ingo Potrykus to help address the severe problem of micronutrient deficiencies in developing country diets-a problem that results in half a million cases of childhood blindness and millions of deaths each year. "Let someone come forward and state that the possibility of saving 500,000 children from blindness is a zero benefit," Moore said.

Moore was joined by Potrykus and Tuskegee University biologist C.S. Prakash in rebuking claims that Golden Rice does not include enough pro-vitamin A to be beneficial. According to Potrykus, "the amounts required for preventing severe symptoms of vitamin A deficiency are significantly lower than given by RDA-values," and he noted that Golden Rice's vitamin A equivalence is "already in the 20-40 percent range of the daily allowance." Dr. Prakash added, "We also know that the vitamin A dosage in Golden Rice can be increased over time. So, we have good, scientific reasons to be hopeful."

Other signers of the Declaration of Scientists in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology (www.AgBioWorld.org) include Nobel Prize winners Norman Borlaug, James Watson, Paul Berg, Peter Doherty, and Paul Boyer. The AgBioWorld Foundation is a project of Professor C.S. Prakash. For more information, please contact Professor Prakash at (334) 727-8023 or at prakash@agbioworld.org.