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.

01.09.2021 |

What Walter Isaacson’s Book Gets Wrong About Gene Editing


The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

The Code Breaker contains 481 pages of Oscar-level cinematic prose, providing a whistle-stop tour of how Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, and a large supporting cast discovered and developed the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR—an acronym for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. These repeating DNA features were found to be part of the defense system that bacteria have evolved over their billions of years of warfare with viruses. Enzymes associated with CRISPR sequences cut up attacking viral DNA and insert a section of it into the bacteria’s own genome in order to recognize it in the future. Doudna and her colleagues’ innovation was to configure and use this viral “mugshot” system to target and insert specific genetic sequences, creating a flexible DNA cut-and-paste tool.

30.08.2021 |

Nature-based Solutions and the Biodiversity and Climate Crises

Doreen Stabinsky

Third World Network Penang, Malaysia

“NATURE-BASED solutions” (NbS)1 is a contested term. Academics write long peer-reviewed articles laying out criteria by which so-called NbS might be evaluated,2 whilst oil majors create new “nature-based solutions” business units unaligned with the basic elements of the definitional crite- ria being set out by the academics.3 At the end of the day, NbS means what the powerful actors using it to green their images want it to mean.

The phrase “nature-based solutions” says everything and nothing at the same time. Its proponents argue that such a broadly encompassing term provides opportunities to highlight a whole range of beneficial, biodiversity-protecting practices at the same time, and that packaging all these together in this term might help mobilize protection from a range of drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem loss by calling attention to the myriad ways in which societies benefit from “nature”.

27.08.2021 |

Centre’s GM soya cake import order to be challenged in court by a civil society group

NEW DELHI: The Coalition for a GM-Free India, a civil society platform that had been opposed to transgenic technologies being deployed in the country, has termed the Centre's recent decision to import GM soymeal as patently illegal, saying the move will now be legally challenged as the import would expose citizens to the hazards of unsafe gene technologies.

23.08.2021 |

GM Bt maize hits predator of armyworm pest

New study shows unanticipated negative impact of Bt insecticidal crop on beneficial insect. Report: Claire Robinson

A study from 2017 reported that most GM Bt insecticidal maize varieties lost their ability to control the fall armyworm pest within three years of introduction in Brazil, as the pest became resistant to the Bt insecticidal toxin in the plants. The same pattern of rapidly evolved pest resistance has been found in Argentina, Puerto Rico, and the United States.

Now a newly published open access study shows another mechanism through which Bt insecticidal maize crops may be failing. The Bt toxins ("Cry proteins") in Bt maize ingested by the fall armyworm pest are transferred to a natural enemy of the armyworm, the predatory stink bug Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas) – where they cause harmful changes in the predator insect's midgut cells. The authors believe that these changes could negatively impact the predator insects' fitness.

23.08.2021 |

African social movements demand that AU suspends undemocratic and pro-industry seed and GMO guidelines and processes

For over two decades, and in defence of life and democracy, diverse constituencies in Africa have promoted the rights of small farmers and their seed systems, and have expressed and continue to express concern related to the use and governance of modern biotechnology on the continent. We include smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, hunter/gatherers, indigenous peoples, citizens, environmentalists, scientists, and cooperative civil society mechanisms. All are legitimate rights holders on the continent, of whom the African Union (AU) is supposed to be a representative mechanism.

23.08.2021 |

Election 2021 -Take Action: Ask your candidates on GMOs

Do you support mandatory government safety assessments for all genetically engineered food and seeds? If elected, would you ensure that all genetically engineered foods and seeds are regulated?

Tell your candidate that your vote is for transparency and independent science.

New Resource! Click here for a one-page background to email or hand to your candidate, or use it as background for yourself when you ask questions in all-candidates debates.

More updates and materials on this issue are posted at

22.08.2021 |

Ten approvals for the import of genetically engineered crops rushed through

EU Commission takes controversial decision during the summer break

22 August 2021 / The EU Commission has rushed through ten approvals for the import of genetically engineered (GE) plants. The approvals were issued for maize, soybeans, oilseed rape and cotton, which produce insecticidal toxins and/or are engineered to be resistant to herbicides such as glyphosate; the approvals include seven new variants of GE plants and three renewals. The applications were filed by Monsanto (Bayer), Dow AgroSciences (Corteva) and Syngenta (ChemChina).

The harvest of these plants is now allowed for import and usage in food and feed. The EU Parliament has in recent years passed dozens of resolutions demanding that these imports should not be not allowed.

The huge majority of genetically engineered crops allowed for import into the EU produce several insecticides in combination with resistance to herbicides, such as glyphosate. So far, the EU has systematically avoided assessing combinatorial effects between the various toxins and other constituents in these plants. Amongst others, there are concerns that consumption of these products might enhance or trigger chronic inflammatory processes.

17.08.2021 |

URGENT ACTION ALERT: Tell USDA NO GE trees in our forests!

The USDA has opened up a second public comment period to seek input for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) they plan to prepare on whether or not to approve the GE American chestnut.

We need to respond in force. The pro-GE tree side is mobilizing their base to submit comments promoting GE trees. We must remind the USDA that people across the world oppose GE trees and will not allow them to be planted in our forests.

06.08.2021 |

Safety concerns raised over Impossible Burger GMO fake meat ingredient

Soy leghemoglobin does not have a history of safe use in food

Impossible Foods, the US-based fake meat maker that uses genetically engineered ingredients, has already managed to steer its fake meat Impossible Burger products past regulators in several countries, most notably the US and Canada, though not without challenge.

And they have other countries in their sights, including Australia and New Zealand, where they hope to have a product on the market within the next two years.