GMO news related to Germany

18.11.2021 |

Genetically engineered bacteria put food safety at risk

GE microbes often remain undetected

18 November 2021 / Genetically engineered (GE) bacteria are used, amongst other things, in the production of enzymes and vitamins. As an unintended consequence, genetically engineered bacteria have repeatedly found their way into the production processes of food and feed. EU member states have discovered more than a dozen such cases in last years, concerning more than 20 countries. The GE bacteria carry genes conferring antibiotic resistance which may be transferred to gut bacteria. More detailed examinations have found substantial risks to food safety.

15.11.2021 |

Decision on patent covering salmon and trout

Patent claims fish and fish fillets

15 November 2021 / The European Patent Office (EPO) will decide tomorrow on an opposition against a patent on fish. Patent (EP1965658) claims salmon and trout as technical inventions. The fish are fed with selected plants to influence the composition of the fatty acids in their muscles. However, it has long been known that specific diets can influence the composition of animal produce such as meat, milk, eggs and fish filets – it is neither new nor inventive.

05.11.2021 |

Court proceedings against EU-approvals for genetically engineered plants

Testbiotech taking legal action against the EU Commission

5 November 2021 / Testbiotech wants two recent EU approvals for genetically engineered (GE) maize and soybeans to be examined by the General Court of the European Union. The cases against the EU Commission were filed in September 2021 and both cases have now been accepted by the court (T-605/21 and T-606/21). In their analysis, Testbiotech, found that the risks associated with the GE plants produced by Bayer had not undergone detailed assessment as foreseen in EU regulation.

The court cases concern maize (MON 87427 x MON 87460 x MON 89034 x MIR162 x NK603) and soybean (MON87751 x MON87701 x MON87708 x MON89788), both of which were produced from several crossings (therefore also called ’stacked’). As a result, the plants are resistant to herbicides such as glyphosate and, in addition, produce several insecticides.

04.11.2021 |

Companies Carlsberg and Heineken want revocation of their own patent

Success for No Patents on Seeds!

4 November 2021 / The beer companies, Carlsberg and Heineken, are currently asking the European Patent Office (EPO) to revoke one of their controversial patents (EP2384110). The patent claims the barley, which was not obtained from genetic engineering methods, as well as the beer produced thereof. No Patents on Seeds! filed an opposition in 2017 because patents on conventional breeding are prohibited. The EPO rejected the opposition in 2018 and No Patents on Seeds! subsequently filed an appeal against the decision. The companies are now dropping the patent even though no legal decision has been made. Consequently, it seems to be only a matter of time before the patent is lapsed.

26.10.2021 |

New scientific publication on novel risks and applications of gene scissors

Need for a case-specific risk assessment of plants obtained from new genetic engineering

26 October 2021 / A new study published in the scientific journal, Plants, presents the specific risks of new genetic engineering techniques and gives an overview of possible gene scissor applications. Inducing supposedly small alterations in the genome of crop plants can nevertheless generate complex changes. The results of the study highlight the need for plants developed using New Genetic Engineering techniques to undergo case-specific risk assessment, taking both the properties of the end product and risks posed by the applied procedures into account.

23.10.2021 |

German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation - position paper on new genomic techniques and their regulation

High risk potential requires case-by-case analysis

23 October 2021 / The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) has outlined its position in a paper published in October on the intention of the EU Commission to evaluate new legislative proposals for the regulation of certain new genomic techniques (NGTs) in plants. The paper concludes that these plants have a similar or even greater risk potential than plants obtained from older genetic engineering techniques. According to the BfN, a high level of safety can only be ensured with a case-by-case analysis as required in current genetic engineering legislation, especially since there is no or only very limited experience with the deliberate release of these plants and their products.

13.10.2021 |

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EU-Commission takes first step to deregulate genetically engineered plants and food

In an “Inception Impact Assessment” published on the 24th September, the European Commission informs the public and interested parties about its intention to prepare new legislation that would waive the standard risk assessment and labelling requirements for genetically modified organisms on “plants obtained by targeted mutagenesis and cisgenesis”. With these new terms the Commission describes results of the new genetic engineering technologies CRISPR/Cas and other “gene editing” techniques which effect either the single or multiple alteration of short DNA strands or the transfer of strands which already exist in an organisms DNA, but may not be activated or located in a different context. Cisgenesis describes genetic engineering that does not introduce new DNA from another organism (transgenesis) but alters and “rewrites” existing DNA.

The Commission invites the public to comment on its plan, goals and assumptions before October 22nd.

13.10.2021 |

Patents on ‘New Genetic Engineering’ are a threat to traditional breeding

Europe is currently faced with a situation in which hundreds of patents on seeds might be granted in the near future. The patents on ‘New Genetic Engineering’ (e.g. CRISPR/Cas) are also an increasing threat to breeders who want to avoid genetic engineering. No Patents on Seeds! is, therefore, holding a protest against these developments at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich today, where they will hand over 38 empty beer bottles. Each empty bottle will contain a flag of one of the 38 contracting states of the EPO represented in the Administrative Council meeting.

04.09.2021 |

Gene Drive Organisms: A new dimension of genetic engineering Applications, risks and regulation

Enabled by new genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9, so-called gene drives have been developed in recent years that enable humans to spread new genes throughout the genome of wild animal populations. Gene drives force the inheritance of newly introduced genes to be inherited by all offspring, even if this lowers the survival chances of the affected species. In the most extreme case, gene drive technology could drive an entire species to extinction or replace wild populations with genetically modified organisms.

03.09.2021 |

Testbiotech comment on the IUCN report “Genetic frontiers for conservation, an assessment of synthetic biology and biodiversity conservation”

2021: Testbiotech report IUCN and Synthtetic Biology

Biotechnology, genetic engineering and our responsibility for nature

Gentechnik und unser Umgang mit der Natur

Synthetic biology and synthetic genome technologies

Synthetische Biologie & Synthetische Gentechnik

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