European GMO-Free Regions Conference

10.09.2019 |

Transgenic Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes Transfer Genes into a Natural Population

Abstract

In an attempt to control the mosquito-borne diseases yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika fevers, a strain of transgenically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes containing a dominant lethal gene has been developed by a commercial company, Oxitec Ltd. If lethality is complete, releasing this strain should only reduce population size and not affect the genetics of the target populations. Approximately 450 thousand males of this strain were released each week for 27 months in Jacobina, Bahia, Brazil. We genotyped the release strain and the target Jacobina population before releases began for >21,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Genetic sampling from the target population six, 12, and 27–30 months after releases commenced provides clear evidence that portions of the transgenic strain genome have been incorporated into the target population. Evidently, rare viable hybrid offspring between the release strain and the Jacobina population are sufficiently robust to be able to reproduce in nature. The release strain was developed using a strain originally from Cuba, then outcrossed to a Mexican population. Thus, Jacobina Ae. aegypti are now a mix of three populations. It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors. These results highlight the importance of having in place a genetic monitoring program during such releases to detect un-anticipated outcomes.

16.08.2019 |

Conference: “Science, Precaution, Innovation - towards the integrated governance of new technologies”, 14-15 October, Bielefeld

European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility

Conference on the Precautionary Principle:

“Science, Precaution, Innovation - towards the integrated governance of new technologies”

When: 14-15 October 2019

Where: Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Methoden 1, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany

Program: www.ensser.org/pp-conference

Register at registration [at] ensser.org

The Precautionary Principle (PP) concerns situations where the available scientific information about possible harm from human-made innovations gives decision-makers reasonable grounds to suspect possible harm to human health, the environment or biodiversity, but where scientific certainty is lacking. The PP in such situations lawfully justifies decision makers taking precautionary measures to avoid such harm.

Although enshrined in the EU treaty and formally a pillar of EU policy, the PP is often ignored, misinterpreted or violated by the EU Commission and member states. The introduction in recent years of a so called “innovation principle” may well erode this science-based standard and prioritize particularly powerful incumbent economic interests over the high level of protection provided in the EU Treaty. Truly sustainable innovations, however, require conformity with the PP, and a more comprehensive assessment of what (if any) social benefits, and which social needs, may be met.

In this conference we will present and critically appraise examples which illustrate the importance of the PP and discuss what is required to ensure that it will be used wisely and more frequently. Viable paths to a reasonable confidence of no harm to public health, biodiversity and the environment will be identified and explored by reference to currently available knowledge, while acknowledging that strict proof of safety is an illusory goal. Examples including pesticide use, genetically modified crops, electromagnetic fields, endocrine disrupting compounds and nanotechnology will be presented by eminent speakers and explored by the participants.

12.08.2019 |

FDA Finds Unexpected Antibiotic Resistance Genes in 'Gene-Edited' Dehorned Cattle

By Jonathan Latham, PhD and Allison Wilson, PhD

Gene-editing is seen by many as the ultimate in precision breeding. Polled cattle, whose horns have been genetically removed, have been presented as exemplars of this–a socially beneficial use of precise genome engineering. Such hornless cattle were produced in 2016 by Recombinetics, Inc., of St. Paul, Minnesota, a development that was reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology (Carlson et al, 2016).

In that publication, Recombinetics researchers reported detecting no unexpected alterations, such as insertions or deletions of DNA, as a result of the gene-editing procedure. They concluded “our animals are free of off-target events” (Carlson et al, 2016).

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Photo: © Sanjay Kumar

GMO-Free Europe, Berlin 2018

More than 200 participants from GMO Free Regions throughout Europe, as well as guests from North-America, Asia, New Zealand and Africa (35 nations in total) met in Berlin to discuss new an old challenges of genetic engineering in agriculture as well as the environment at large. They were relieved and reassured by the recent European Court of Justice’ decision that all forms of genetic engineering, including CRISPR-Cas and other forms of so called “gene editing” fall under the European directive on GMOs. This requires risk assessment and specific approval for each GM product, traceability and labelling. For further details and documentation see conference website.

GMO-Free Europe, Berlin 2015

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Brussels 2012

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Brussels 2010

300 people from 37 countries joined the 6th European Conference of GMO-Free Regions in Brussels and Ghent, 16-18 September 2010, including EU-Commissioner John Dalli, heads of supermarkets and leaders of the GMO Free movement inside and outside Europe.  Conference proceedings and audiovisuals

Food+Democracy
Lucern 2009

On 24/25th April 2009 the 5th European GMO Free Conference was hosted by the Swiss movement against GMOs in Lucern, including the Speaker of the National Council and the head of Parliament of the Canton Lucerne. They welcomed 250 representatives from 39 countries. Proceedings 


Planet Diversity
Bonn 2008

At the occasion of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity's meeting in Bonn, Germany, more than 700 representatives from 100 countries around the world gathered on April 12 to 16 in Bonn, Germany, to celebrate gmo-free agricultural diversity. A global festival, demonstration and 3 day conference with guests from all around the world marked the GMO Free Regions event 2008. Proceedings

GMO-Free Regions
Brussels 2007

300 participants from 37 countries gathered at the European Parliament in Brussels, 19-20 April 2007 to discuss strategies of the GMO free regions movement as well as burning issues such as the impacts of agro-fuels on sustainable agriculture. Proceedings

 

 

GMO-Free Regions
Berlin 2006

250 representatives of regional governments, municipalities, companies, farmers unions, consumer and environmental organisations and initiatives from 35 countries met in Berlin on January 14 - 15, 2006, for the 2nd GMO Free Regions conference.
Proceedings

GMO-FREE Europe, Berlin 2005

The First GMO Free Regions Conference took place in Berlin 22-23rd January 2005 in the Harnack house of the Max-Planck Society. 190 participants from 25 countries adopted the "Berlin Manifesto" of GMO Free Regions in Europe. More Details

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