§ Joan Ruddock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the antibiotics to which marker genes used in the production of genetically modified crops convey resistance and the medical uses of those antibiotics. 
§ Yvette Cooper
Marker genes conveying resistance to a number of antibiotics have been used in the production of genetically modified crops around the world. Those used in the development of Genetically Modified (GM) crops that have been submitted for evaluation in the UK,744W either for food use or for release to the environment (either marketing consent or for experimental releases), are listed in the table:
Gene Antibiotic Kanr (nptll or neo) Amnioglycoside antibiotics including kanamycin, and neomycin Strepr/specr (or aad) Streptomycin and spectinomycin Ampr (or bla) Narrow spectrum βlactam antibiotics such as ampicillin and amoxycillin Tc Tetracycline Nptlll Amikacin Hpt Hygromycin
In some instances marker genes have been used in the early laboratory stages of the development of GM crops but are not present in the final crop plants. In addition, all foods derived from GM crops that are currently available in Europe are highly processed before consumption and the genetic material is no longer viable.
The medical uses of these antibiotics are as follows:
Antibiotic Medical uses Kanamycin, neomycin (aminoglycosides) Kanamycin is not commonly used now. Neomycin is used locally for ear or skin infections and may be used to reduce microbial load prior to bowel surgery. It is not used parenterally Streptomycin, spectinomycin Streptomycin and spectinomycin are of value in the treatment of serious infections such as TB, and for treating gentamicin-resistant enterococcal endocarditis. They are also used in the treatment of gonorrhoea Ampicillin, amoxycillin βlactam antibiotics are widely used to treat all forms of infection Tetracyclines Group of broad-spectrum antibiotics used to treat acne, respiratory infections and sexually transmitted diseases. Also used in treatment of infections in penicillin-allergic patients Amikacin Another aminoglycoside used to treat serious Gram-negative infections, especially those caused by organisms resistant to gentamicin (the aminoglycoside of choice) Hygromycin Veterinary antibiotic
The safety of any genetically modified food is carefully and rigorously assessed before it can be marketed in the United Kingdom. This evaluation will include an assessment of any potential adverse effects on health of the novel food, including the health implications of any antibiotic resistance markers that may be present in the food, taking a precautionary approach.