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July 17, 1991

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes-Reply

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1991;266(3):362-363. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470030062020

In Reply.  —The Council on Scientific Affairs' article, "Biotechnology and the American Agricultural Industry," was designed to provide information on the safety of individual, genetically modified foods, not to endorse or assert the safety of any particular food or technology.The introduction of the Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk) transgene into plants for purposes of pest control and the effects of the toxin on herbivorous insects is clearly described. Two parameters will require continued monitoring to ensure that human safety requirements are met: (1) the concentration of the toxin in the transgenic plant; and (2) structural changes unique to the transgene-encoded toxin protein. Current studies are directed to promoting expression of the toxin gene during those stages of the plant life cycle that are most susceptible to insect damage.The goal of transgenic plant technology is not specifically to increase toxin expression in the edible fruits of plants, but to