News

14.10.2020 |

Gates to a Global Empire – over Seed, Food, Health, Knowledge…and the Earth

The report gathers evidence and throws light on the dangers of philanthrocapitalism, which is boosting the corporate takeover of our seed, agriculture, food, knowledge and global health systems, manipulating information and eroding our democracies. Over the last 30 years it has emerged as a major force, able to derail the international agenda and push our future and the future of our planet towards extinction and ecological collapse.

14.10.2020 |

Does Kenya Need GMO Cassava? Ask the World Food Prize-winner Who Saved Africa’s Cassava

When I read the news in June that Kenya was ready to allow field trials of genetically modified cassava, I called Dr. Hans Herren. Herren won the World Food Prize in 1995 for using biological controls to halt a mealybug infestation that threatened to destroy cassava crops across Africa. With cassava serving as the staple food for much of the continent, the effort saved as many as 20 million lives, by one estimate.

I’d been with Herren at the World Food Prize events in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2013. That was the year the World Food Prize Committee, from its elegant Hall of Laureates building recently renovated with a donation from Monsanto, awarded the prizes to three pioneers in GMO technology. We ate a lot of GM food at the World Food Prize festivities, and we heard a lot about cassava. The crop was again threatened, this time by the brown streak virus, and the industry had the antidote: a GM variety that could prevent the disease. The same one now slated for release in Kenya.

14.10.2020 |

Brazil millers oppose sale of GMO wheat as importing costs would rise, Abitrigo says

SAO PAULO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Brazilian wheat millers association Abitrigo opposes the approval of genetically modified wheat products for sale in Brazil, saying it will make imports of the cereal more costly and impact prices on the domestic market.

The statement comes after Argentine authorities approved a new genetically modified wheat that can resist drought and tolerates the herbicide glufosinate sodium.

Argentina is a major supplier of wheat to Brazil, accounting for about 60% of Brazilian imports. Another 10% comes from other destinations while Brazil’s own domestic production caters to 30% of the market, according to Abitrigo.

07.10.2020 |

CRISPR/Cas: Nobel Prize potentially opens up ‘Pandora’s Box’

Testbiotech warns against hype around genetic engineering technology

7 October 2020 / The inventors of the CRISPR/Cas “gene-scissor” technology have been awarded the Nobel Prize. Christoph Then from Testbiotech comments as follows: “This is a Nobel Prize that could potentially open up ‘Pandora’s Box’. The future of our earth now depends substantially on whether we will be able to set clear and strict limits to this new genetic engineering technology. We must protect human, plant and animal genomes from becoming an object of technological hubris and financial gain.”

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.

05.10.2020 |

Genome editing — The next GM techno fix doomed to fail

Regulatory issues and threats for Africa

Genome editing risks aggravating the problems of industrial agriculture, prolonging a model that threatens both human health and the environment, and further opens up African food systems to hegemonic control and privatisation. Concerns about such technology move beyond biosafety, into a realm of counter-hegemonic struggle against colonial/capitalist Euro-American technoscience projects and frameworks that require loose or non-existent regulation that bends towards a narrow and outdated version of so-called Western science, in order to facilitate and expand their corporate interests and profits.

30.09.2020 |

Lobby activities disguised as science

Questionable Statement of Leopoldina and DFG on New GE

30 September 2020 / In a letter to the president of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Prof. Dr. Gerald Haug, Testbiotech has raised some serious questions in relation to a virtual conference planned by Leopoldina and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The organisers plan to present a ‘Statement’ on new genetic engineering techniques (New GE, also called genome editing) and plant breeding during the conference. The authors of the ‘Statement’ claim that there are no specific risks associated with the application of genetic engineering in plant breeding and are demanding changes to EU GMO regulation. As a consequence, most genetically engineered organisms would no longer undergo mandatory risk assessment and approval process as requested by current EU regulation.

30.09.2020 |

Gates Foundation doubles down on misinformation campaign at Cornell as African leaders call for agroecology

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded another $10 million last week to the controversial Cornell Alliance for Science, a communications campaign housed at Cornell that trains fellows in Africa and elsewhere to promote and defend genetically engineered foods, crops and agrichemicals. The new grant brings BMGF grants to the group to $22 million.

(.....)

Doubling down on PR efforts

Against this backdrop, the Gates Foundation is doubling down on its investment in the Cornell Alliance for Science (CAS), a public relations campaign launched in 2014 with a Gates grant and promises to “depolarize the debate” around GMOs. With the new $10 million, CAS plans to widen its focus “to counter conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns that hinder progress in climate change, synthetic biology, agricultural innovations and other key issues.”

But CAS has become a polarizing force and a source of misinformation as it trains fellows around the world to promote and lobby for genetically engineered crops in their home countries, many of them in Africa.

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."

23.09.2020 |

Gene drives: Navigating perils of engineered eradication, with Christoph Then

Imagine a world without natural enemies like parasites or deadly pathogens. Where crops grow unfettered by rodent and insect pests. Advances in genetic engineering now hold the possibility to alter genomes at the population level, but is it too good to be true? A critical review in the September 2020 issue of IEAM delves into environmental risk assessments for controversial gene drives in the European Union. Lead author Christoph Then talks with us about the challenges facing risk assessors of gene drives and a potential cut-off criteria presented in the study. Access the article in the September 2020 issue of IEAM.

EnglishFranceDeutsch