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19.11.2005 |

Australia: GM pea research stopped after mice fell ill

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has announced the stop of 10 years of research into genetically modified peas because they caused lung inflammation in mice. The peas were designed to kill the pea weevil - Bruchus pisorum - by introduction of a bean gene to block alpha-amylase, an enzyme important for digestion of starch. Weevil larvae feeding on the pea seed are unable to digest the starch and starve. While the gene product does not cause any immune reactions in beans it obviously did in the peas. The researchers suspect the subtle change with massive consequences to be caused by a process called glycosylation, which plays a major role in protein folding. The GM peas were also resistant to Bayer's herbicide "Basta".</p><p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/technology/feeds/afx/2005/11/17/afx2345014.html">AFX News:Australian researchers scrap GM peas after mice fall ill</a></p><p><a href="http://www.csiro.au/index.asp?id=212GM&type=mediaRelease">CSIRO press release</a>

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