News

2016-07-12 |

Biodiversity, GMOs, Gene Drives and the Militarized Mind

by Vandana Shiva

A recent report from the National Academy of Science of The United States, titled "Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values," warns:

“One possible goal of release of a gene-drive modified organism is to cause the extinction of the target species or a drastic reduction in its abundance.”

Gene Drives have been called "mutagenic chain reactions," and are to the biological world what chain reactions are to the nuclear world. The Guardian describes Gene Drives as the "gene bomb."

2016-07-11 |

Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh lead in earmarking special organic farming zones

NEW DELHI: After turning Sikkim into a fully organic state, India is now looking at a "cluster" approach to increase area under chemical-free farming in other states. Many states have already started earmarking exclusive organic farming zones, with Maharashtra leading the pack with 932 exclusive clusters followed by Madhya Pradesh (880), Rajasthan (755), Uttar Pradesh (575), Uttarakhand (550) and Karnataka (545).

2016-07-09 |

Monsanto and DuPont Announce New Weed Killer for GMO Crops

One of the biggest concerns about the cultivation of genetically modified crops is the rise of superweeds caused by the overuse of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's best-selling Roundup and other pesticides.

So, in an effort to beat back these herbicide-defying weeds, Monsanto and DuPont have agreed to sell an even stronger weed killer to go with their genetically modified seeds.

2016-07-06 |

EU Member States to debate the authorisation of genetically engineered maize for cultivation

On 8 July 2016, EU member states will discuss whether or not to approve genetically engineered maize 1507 and Bt11 for cultivation and the re-authorisation of GM maize Mon810 (http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/docs/sc_modif-genet_20160708_agenda.pdf). All three maize events are producing insecticidal Bt toxins.


However, in the light of new evidence, it has to be concluded that authorisation for the cultivation of genetically engineered maize cannot be issued: As the EU Commission admitted just recently there is an outbreak of teosinte in Spain (http://redandaluzadesemillas.org/IMG/pdf/160607_respuesta_ce_x_carta_conjunta_teosinte.pdf).


This has huge legal, economic and ecological consequences: In 1998, when the cultivation of MON810 was allowed in the EU for the first time, the precondition was that there were no wild relatives to which the transgenes could spread. However, this circumstance changed in 2009 when teosinte was found to be growing in Spanish maize fields as a new alien species. Since then, no effective measures could be identified to prevent teosinte from spreading further. Teosinte is a wild relative of maize and native to Mexico. Crossings between teosinte and maize can enable transgenes from genetically engineered maize to spread and persist in the environment. Once gene flow has occurred it can be very difficult and very costly to remove the plants and control the damage in the environment and for farmers. (www.testbiotech.org/en/node/1676).

2016-07-04 |

Genetically Modified (GM) Soya in South Africa: Status Quo Report

ACBio_Report ACBio_Report

This briefing paper presents the status of genetically modified (GM) soya in South Africa. GM Soybean seed owned by Monsanto and genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide glyphosate, accounts for 90% of all soya bean production in South Africa.

Soya is now one of South Africa’s most important crops and has surpassed sunflower as the country’s major oilseed crop. In 2015/16 despite the crippling drought, South African farmers planted a record 687 000 ha of GM soybeans, yielding a harvest of over 1 million tons. It is expected that production will rise 1 million ha within a decade.

The majority of GM soya grown in South Africa is for the animal feed industry, though previous GM testing by the ACB has found GM soya in a variety of food products, including bread, breakfast cereals and soya mince.

The use of glyphosate in South African agriculture has increased dramatically since the introduction of GM crops, and the continued increase in cultivation of GM soya is likely to exacerbate this trend. Should local weed populations start developing resistance to glyphosate, as has happened elsewhere, South Africans can expect the introduction of GM soya varieties tolerant to combinations of more and more toxic chemicals such as 2,4 D and dicamba.

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