GMO news related to Norway

23.11.2016

Levels of DNA methylation and transcript accumulation in leaves of transgenic maize varieties

Results

Our results showed differences in cytosine methylation levels in the FMV promoter and cry2Ab2 transgene of the four Bt-expressing hybrid varieties. The comparison between single and stacked hybrids under the same genetic background showed differences in the 35S promoter sequence. The results of transgene transcript accumulation levels showed differences in both cry1A.105 and cry2Ab2 transgenes among the four Bt-expressing hybrid varieties. The comparison between single and stacked hybrids showed difference for the cry2Ab2 transgene only.

Conclusions

Overall, our results show differences in DNA methylation patterns in all varieties, as well as in transgene transcript accumulation levels. Although the detection of changes in DNA methylation and transgenic accumulation levels does not present a safety issue per se, it demonstrates the need for additional studies that focus on detecting possible safety implications of such changes.

23.11.2016

Levels of DNA methylation and transcript accumulation in leaves of transgenic maize varieties

Results

Our results showed differences in cytosine methylation levels in the FMV promoter and cry2Ab2 transgene of the four Bt-expressing hybrid varieties. The comparison between single and stacked hybrids under the same genetic background showed differences in the 35S promoter sequence. The results of transgene transcript accumulation levels showed differences in both cry1A.105 and cry2Ab2 transgenes among the four Bt-expressing hybrid varieties. The comparison between single and stacked hybrids showed difference for the cry2Ab2 transgene only.

Conclusions

Overall, our results show differences in DNA methylation patterns in all varieties, as well as in transgene transcript accumulation levels. Although the detection of changes in DNA methylation and transgenic accumulation levels does not present a safety issue per se, it demonstrates the need for additional studies that focus on detecting possible safety implications of such changes.

16.11.2016

Should genetically modified organisms be part of our conservation efforts?

OPINION: Should the Seed vault on Svalbard collect and preserve GMO-seeds?

By: Fern Wickson, GenØk - Centre for Biosafety

Biotechnology is rapidly evolving through developments in genome editing and synthetic biology, giving birth to new forms of life.

This technology has already given us genetically modified (GM) plants that produce bacterial pesticides, GM mosquitos that are sterile and GM mice that develop human cancers.

Now, new biotechnological techniques are promising to deliver a whole host of new lifeforms designed to serve our purposes – pigs with human organs, chickens that lay eggs containing cholesterol controlling drugs, and monkeys that develop autism. The possibilities seem endless.

But do these genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have conservation value?

The biodiversity of life on earth is globally recognised as valuable and in need of protection. This includes not just wild biodiversity but also the biodiversity of agricultural crop plants that humans have developed over thousands of years.

But what about the synthetic forms of biodiversity we are now developing through biotechnologies? Does anyone care about this synbiodiversity?

It’s a question I was compelled to ask while conducting research into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV).

A frozen ‘Noah’s Ark’ for seeds

(.....)

How do we care for GM crops?

The model of freezing seeds in genebanks and backing up those collections at the SGSV is one way to conserve biodiversity. Another, however, is the approach of continuing to cultivate them in our agricultural landscapes.

While this model of conservation has generated and maintained the biodiversity of traditional crop varieties for thousands of years, there is now a significant shift taking place. More than 90% of traditional crop varieties have now disappeared from our fields and been replaced by genetically uniform modern varieties cultivated in large-scale monocultures. Meaning, there may be no GM crops frozen in the SGSV, but there are plenty in the ground.

So this leaves me questioning what it is we really cherish? Are we using our precious agricultural resources to expand the diversity of humanity’s common heritage?

Or are we rather placing our common heritage on ice while we expand the ecological space occupied by privately owned inventions? And who cares about synbiodiversity anyway?

Fern Wickson, Senior Scientist & Program Coordinator, GenØk - Centre for Biosafety

10.04.2016

New Norwegian Study Accuses Monsanto Of Falsely Claiming GMOs Are Safe

Norway is one of many countries in Europe to ban genetically modified products and to choose not to produce them. In fact, they are one of the most restrictive importers of GM products, with several EU-approved GMOs being strictly illegal in the country.

The global resistance against Genetically Modified Crops is growing at an exponential rate. A few years ago, you were almost ridiculed for suggesting that GM foods could be hazardous, but now scientists and researchers are presenting information that has 19 new countries joining an already long list of nations to completely ban, or at least place severe restrictions on, GMOs — and the pesticides that go with them.

22.07.2015

Biosafety and Knowledge Gaps of New Plant Breeding Technologies Necessitate Further Research

New plant breeding techniques, such as those involving site-directed or sequence-specific modifications to the genomes of crop species, have emerged as a group that is different from conventional breeding and standard genetic modification. Current international biosafety regulations for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may not be applicable to all novel products arising from these new techniques, giving rise to the concern on how to assess, monitor and regulate them properly.

A report by GenØk–Centre for Biosafety, Norway, reviews the potential applications and knowledge gaps related to two new plant breeding techniques, site directed nucleases (SDN) and oligonucleotide directed mutagenesis (ODM). The aim is to both create a historical record of the emergence of these technologies and to serve as a case study in how ‘early warnings’ may be incorporated into risk assessments of new technologies.

28.11.2014

Norwegian food authority stops approving antibiotic marker gene-containing GMOs in fish feed

GMWatch: 28 November 2014

Move comes amid concerns about rise in antibiotic-resistant infections

According to the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has stopped approving (on a yearly basis) GMOs for use in fish feed that contain genes coding for antibiotic resistance. According to the Advisory Board, this applies to 8 out of 19 GMOs which the fish feed industry had previously been given permission to use since 2008.

An article on the website of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board reports:

"The fear is that genes in the GM feed that code for antibiotic resistance may be taken up by various bacteria in the soil in the country where the GMO is produced, in the feed production chain, or in the gut of the fish. Scientists know little about to what extent, or if, this happens with genes that are inserted via genetic modification, but few would deny that it could happen. If the genes first have entered into a bacterium [during the genetic engineering process], they may quickly spread further."

09.12.2013

Norway: Marine Harvest, WWF call for proper GM salmon labelling

Marine Harvest, the world’s largest farmed salmon producer, does not support the introduction of genetically modified salmon and is calling for it to be labelled as GM if approved for the American market.

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