National Geographic : 1985 May
isn't marijuana. Perhaps you need someone with more knowledge of contemporary culture to back up your writers and/or photographers. Oattis E. Parks, Jr. Freeport, Florida From the number of letters pointing out that the large plant in the foreground is not marijuana (which indeed is drying on the racks), but cassa va (tapioca), it seems many of ourreadersare ex perts in identifying one plant or the other. Those staff members responsiblefor not pointingout the cassava promise to turn over a new leaf. In the otherwise superb article on Jamaica, you quote young Rastafarian singer Bunny Wailer. All true disciples of reggae music know that there was once a Bunny Livingston, who was an early member of the Wailers, but never a Bunny Wail er to my knowledge. Bob Darden Waco, Texas Since the death of Bob Marley, Neville (Bunny) Livingston has launched a solo careerunder the name of Bunny Wailer. Biotechnology While reading Robert F. Weaver's article "Be yond Supermouse: Changing Life's Genetic Blueprint" in the December 1984 issue, a ques tion came to mind. If allergies are caused by a hyperactive immune system and cancer occurs as a result of a suppressed or ineffective immune system, are persons who have allergies less likely to develop cancer? It would be interesting to learn whether any studies have been done to de termine whether persons with allergies have a lower risk of developing cancer. If so, maybe there is some consolation for allergy sufferers. Thomas A. Duke Lexington, Kentucky Epidemiologistsat the NationalCancerInstitute tell us that allergies are localized and not as se vere as auto-immune diseases in the scale of im mune reactions. There is no finding that allergic people are less likely to develop cancer. Members Forum Congratulations on Members Forum, the part of the magazine I often turn to first./") / / Beacon, New York Letters should be addressedto Members Forum, National Geographic Magazine, Box 37448, Washington, D. C. 20013, and should include sender's address and telephone number. Not all letters can be used. Those that are will often be edited and excerpted.