News

09.09.2021 |

Supporting Peasants’ and Indigenous People’s Realization of Their Right to Seed

Peasants and Indigenous Peoples feed more than 70 percent of the world and are key agents in the preservation of biocultural diversity in food systems. The importance of seeds, traditional knowledge and innovations have been increasingly recognized as crucial factors in efforts to stop the rapid loss of biodiversity.

Currently, peasants and Indigenous Peoples’ food systems and seed management practices are threatened by industrially-produced food, restrictive seed laws, intellectual property claims and gene modification. The expansion of industrial agriculture has come with a dramatic decrease of agricultural biodiversity.

08.09.2021 |

Illegal GMO rice: Products recalled around the world

500 tonnes of Indian GMO rice were used in many countries to make, among other things, sweets for the Mars company

You may have seen recent reports about an unauthorised GMO turning up in some Mars products. The article below sheds more light on the contamination.

07.09.2021 |

Genetically Engineered Trees: No Solution to Climate Change

Download the statement in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French

“Genetically engineered trees are not a climate solution. They are a dangerous distraction, and a threat to forests and communities that will worsen the climate crisis rather than fix it.”

As concern about the climate crisis intensifies, so does rhetoric surrounding the role of forests, trees and carbon storage in climate mitigation. The science is clear that halting destruction of forests, which includes respecting the territorial rights of communities and peoples who depend on forests, is among the most effective, proven, and available means of removing carbon from the atmosphere, and that undisturbed forests with diverse species, rich intact soils and deadwood store far more carbon than industrial tree plantations.

06.09.2021 |

Farming Today - Report suggests less regulation for gene edited crops, livestock selective breeding

Released On: 06 Sep 2021Available for 29 days

Growing genetically edited crops has moved another step closer to being a reality in England with a new report for the government on how new regulations could work. The Regulatory Horizon Council, an independent committee which advises government, suggests a ‘light touch’ approach which would treat GE crops more like conventionally grown ones and so reduce the time and cost of getting permission for new products. Anti GM campaigners say the report is disappointing and misrepresentative. For centuries livestock farmers have been fine tuning breeding. In the past it was about finding the tastiest meat or the best fleeces. Now, modern breeding methods can help reduce the risk of disease, boost profits and even help cut the carbon footprint of farming. This week we’re all about animal breeding and to kick us off we hear from Professor Mike Coffey, Leader of Animal Breeding and Genomics at SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College.

06.09.2021 |

Groups slam Commission plans to deregulate new GMOs

Commission reportedly aims to exempt some new GMOs from safety regulations within four years and change regulation for all new GMOs within 10 years

In April this year the European Commission's health division DG SANTE published a "working document" in which it announced that the EU's GMO regulations are "not fit for purpose". The Commission made suggestions that could lead to crop plants produced using experimental new GM techniques such as gene editing being exempted from the requirements of the regulation. This could mean that these crop plants would not be subjected to safety checks, GMO labelling, or traceability and monitoring requirements.

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

02.09.2021 |

Stop Corporate self-regulation of GMOs

Action brief

What’s happening?

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

are proposing new “regulatory guidance” which would exempt many new genetically engineered foods and seeds (genetically modified organisms or GMOs) from government safety assessments. Instead, product developers themselves would assess food and environmental safety, with no government oversight. These exemptions would apply to many new genetically engineered foods and seeds that have no foreign DNA (likely produced by gene editing techniques).

02.09.2021 |

Experimental GM wheat trial goes ahead in UK

Wheat for people "who are unable to use a toaster properly" will be planted in open field

The UK Government has given Rothamsted Research consent to plant highly experimental GM wheat in an open field near St Albans.

GM Freeze, which led the opposition to the trial, joined by GMWatch and other organisations, commented in an email to supporters, "Apparently developed for those who are unable to use a toaster properly, the 'low acrylamide' wheat has altered DNA that reduces the production of a chemical that may cause cancer if consumed in large quantities, but is associated with burnt toast rather than sensibly prepared wheat products. Even then, Cancer Research UK [CRUK] says that 'eating burnt food does not cause cancer'."

01.09.2021 |

Pink bollworm causes extensive damage to cotton in Hry, Punjab

Chandigarh: Cotton crop in several districts of Haryana and Punjab has been hit by pink bollworm, one of the most destructive pests, this season. Among the districts affected by the pink bollworm are Sirsa, Fatehabad, Hisar, Mahendragarh and Jind of Haryana and Bathinda and Mansa of Punjab. Ashish Mehta, a cotton farmer from Mandi Dabwali in Sirsa said almost 30 to 40 per cent of the farmers' crop has been damaged due to the pest in his area. Before Bt cotton was introduced in the region around 2005, farmers used to suffer heavy losses due to frequent attacks of American bollworm on their cotton crop. However, the Bt cotton, or Bollgard as it is called, was considered resistant to pests. But the infestation now has left the farmers in distress, as they feel they might have to suffer the pest attacks every year as it occurred prior to 2005. According to experts, the female moth of pink bollworm lays eggs in a cotton boll, and when the larvae emerge from the eggs, they inflict damage through feeding. They chew through the cotton lint to feed on the seeds. Since cotton is used for both fiber and seed oil, the damage is twofold, tell the experts. "Since the eggs and larvae are inside the flower, the farmers are unable to even know about the pest attack till the cotton fruits open up. By then it is already too late," said Mehta.

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