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Poison patent alarms aid charity

作者:颛孙跆    发布时间:2019-03-08 07:12:07    

By Andy Coghlan WHILE environmentalists in the US worry about the effects of crops engineered to produce insecticides, Britain’s largest agricultural biotech company holds a patent that would allow it to produce plants making some of the most potent natural poisons known to science—those from the funnel web spider ( Atrax robustus, pictured). Zeneca says it will only use the toxin for research, however. The funnel web patent is described in a report from the British development charity ActionAid. It argues that Zeneca’s activities in agricultural biotechnology offer no benefits to subsistence farmers in developing countries and could pose environmental hazards. Zeneca, which is merging with the Swedish pharmaceuticals company Astra, rejects both charges, claiming the toxins will only be used to help design more effective insecticides. “We will not be putting them in plants,” says Nigel Poole,

 

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