GMO news related to the United States

06.10.2020 |

Gene-Silencing Pesticides Pose New Risks to Health, Environment and Farmers

New report documents science on novel RNAi pesticides as an “open-air genetic experiment”


WASHINGTON — “Gene-silencing pesticides” now under development pose unique risks to surrounding ecosystems and beneficial insects, including bees, according to a new report, released today by Friends of the Earth and Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji. The report summarizes the gaps in research on experimental gene-silencing pesticides and the risks they pose to human health, the environment, and farmers.

29.09.2020 |

A judge just dismissed efforts to stop pesticides and GMO crops from being used in wildlife refuges

Salon spoke with experts who discussed the ecological consequences of the federal court's decision

A Washington federal court last week dismissed a lawsuit against the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service after a pair of nonprofit groups sued the agency for reversing previous bans on specific insecticides and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in national wildlife refuges.

"It's incredibly disappointing, but this case was intended to look at this issue at a national level, and what the court said is you need to go and look at it at a case specific level," Hannah Connor, Senior Attorney at the Environmental Health Program, told Salon. "So as it's done individually, and that means that there's going to be a limited review of the actual impacts of this decision across the refuge system, which will only detriment wildlife and the habitat that they crave to be able to survive."

17.09.2020 |

Genome Editing Pioneer Violated Biosafety Rules

Official documents reveal that Daniel Voytas, a professor at the University of Minnesota and the co-inventor of the genome editing tool TALENs, has been found to have violated basic laboratory biosafety rules for a period of more than two years.

Unapproved and unsupervised genetic engineering in the Voytas lab appears to have included the development of a new commercial technique for rapid production of gene edited plants called Fast-Treated Agrobacterium Co-Culture, or “Fast-TrACC”. The patent-pending technique has been licensed by the University of Minnesota to Calyxt, a controversial biotechnology company co-founded by Voytas and where he serves as Chief Science Officer.

11.08.2020 |

NO to genetic engineering in our forests!

The biotech industry wants to make genetic engineering acceptable by touting it as the key to saving endangered species. In reality, it it is unleashing a massive, irreversible experiment with unforeseeable consequences for the environment. We can’t let this go ahead – tell the US Department of Agriculture to say NO to Frankentrees!

Call to action!

28.07.2020 |

Groups sue USDA over “Bioengineered” GMO food labeling

The Center for Food Safety has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of nonprofits and retailers against the USDA on its labeling rules for GMO foods.

The groups argue the use of “bioengineered” on labels in place of GE or GMO is misleading to consumers. They say the QR code which is allowed on labels, that can only be read through a smart phone, discriminates against at least 20% of adults who are primarily poor, elderly, rural and minority populations. And they say the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced in-store shopping.

Their lawsuit says the rules excludes 70% of GMO foods used as ingredients in other foods.

21.07.2020 |

Chemical company Bayer loses appeal against weedkiller cancer ruling

The court said Dewayne Johnson offered "abundant" evidence that glyphosate and other Roundup ingredients caused his cancer.

A California appeals court has refused to overturn a verdict in favour of a school caretaker who claimed the weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer.

Dewayne Johnson had been awarded $289.2m (£228.4m) in August 2018 after a San Francisco jury was told that the chemical was responsible for his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The award was cut by the trial judge to $78.5m (£62m) and in the decision by the California appeals court this week, it was reduced further to $20.5m (£16.2m).

20.07.2020 |

Conflicts of interest plague GM mosquito experiments

Journal refuses to publish scientist’s defence of his paper warning of unexpected outcomes from GM mosquitoes release. Report: Claire Robinson

As the citizens of Florida and Texas prepare to act as subjects in an experiment in which millions of Oxitec's genetically modified mosquitoes would be released in their states, a scandal has emerged around a journal's treatment of a scientific article that drew attention to unanticipated outcomes and risks of the project.

20.07.2020 |

Appeals court upholds groundskeeper's Roundup cancer trial win over Monsanto

In yet another court loss for Monsanto owner Bayer AG, an appeals court rejected the company’s effort to overturn the trial victory notched by a California school groundskeeper who alleged exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicides caused him to develop cancer, though the court did say damages should be cut to $20.5 million.

The Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District of California said Monday that Monsanto’s arguments were unpersuasive and Dewayne “Lee” Johnson was entitled to collect $10.25 million in compensatory damages and another $10.25 million in punitive damages. That is down from a total of $78 million the trial judge allowed.

“In our view, Johnson presented abundant—and certainly substantial— evidence that glyphosate, together with the other ingredients in Roundup products, caused his cancer,” the court stated. “Expert after expert provided evidence both that Roundup products are capable of causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma… and caused Johnson’s cancer in particular.”

02.05.2020 |

EPA Grants First Permit to Test Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Testing could start this summer in Florida Keys

Second test would be in heavily populated Houston

The EPA on Friday granted permission for genetically engineered mosquitoes to be released into the Florida Keys and around Houston to see if they can help limit the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses.

British biotech company Oxitec Ltd was granted an experimental use permit to release a genetically engineered type of the mosquito species Aedes aegypti, which is a known vector of Zika virus and viruses that cause yellow fever and dengue fever, the Environmental Protection Agency office of Chemical Safety and Pollution announced.

Oxitec must get state and local approval before it can start field testing. But if granted, testing will take place over a two-year period in Monroe County, Fla., starting this summer, and in Harris County, Texas, beginning in 2021.

02.04.2020 |

Scientists “surprised” to find that CRISPR editing tool is not as precise as previously claimed

Editing tool is found to be prone to making off-target "nicks" in DNA

The gene-editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas12a or Cpf1 has been viewed as a better choice than other Cas editing tools because it was believed to be more precise and less prone to making off-target cuts in DNA.

But a new paper shows that Cpf1 is not as clean or specific as touted. The researchers employed in vitro assays using a vast collection of synthesized DNA molecules containing variations on the editing site sequence. They found that Cpf1 was highly prone to making off-target single-strand cuts, or "nicks", in the double-stranded DNA molecules. Off-target double-strand DNA cuts were also found, albeit at a lower frequency than the single-strand nicks.

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