28.02.2022 |

Greenpeace rebukes Macron over "new GMOs"

Greenpeace challenged President Emmanuel Macron, on Sunday, the day after his visit to the Salon de l’Agriculture, on his positions in favor of new genomic editing techniques for plants which, according to the association, produce “new GMOs”.

A handful of activists first climbed the arch which marks the entrance to the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles to deploy a banner “For sustainable agriculture, no to new GMOs”, before activating smoke bombs from green color, noted an AFP journalist.

25.02.2022 |

Japan Resources – 184 | Public Hearing on Genome-Edited Foods in Japan


From the Editors: Legal Issues

Group Lawsuit Filed Against TEPCO by Young People with Thyroid Cancer

Public Hearing on Genome-Edited Foods in Japan

Status of Genome-Edited Fish and Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ) Activities

Opinion on the Japanese Government’s Draft Guidelines on Non-use Labeling of Food Additives

23.02.2022 |

World’s First Ecosystem Contamination From GM Fish Adds to Canadian Concern

For years, environmental groups in numerous countries have warned about the potential escape of genetically engineered animals into the wild. Now it has happened. Researchers in Brazil have published a paper documenting the escape and successful reproduction of genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) aquarium fish in the wild. The fish, which contains a gene from the jellyfish family to make them fluorescent, has unknown consequences for freshwater systems in Brazil. This is the first documented case of a genetically engineered animal breeding in the wild.

Canada was one of the first countries to approve the sale of Glofish (trademark name) and likewise, a genetically engineered salmon now being grown in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. In 2021, the conservation group Nature Canada warned the Canadian Government about Glofish escaping.

22.02.2022 |

CRISPR/Cas patents: ethical boundaries strengthened

Controversial claims amended or deleted

22 February 2022 / Following an opposition filed by Testbiotech, the European Patent Office (EPO) has amended a patent on CRISPR/Cas (EP 3401400) gene scissors. The Nobel Prize laureates, Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, are named among the inventors in the patent. The claims covering human, animal and plant cells were deleted, and intervention in the human germline explicitly excluded.

Testbiotech filed the opposition because the patent did not exclud human germline interventions or the commercial usage of human embryos, and therefore failed to fulfil legal requirements. A further reason for filing the opposition were patent claims on genetic changes in animals that would have been likely to cause suffering. According to Testbiotech, this final point still needs further clarification after the decision.

21.02.2022 |

Australia's revolving door: Former GMO regulator gets job with GMO industry lobby group

Former gene tech regulator Dr Joe Smith is now chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA)

Australia's revolving door allows government ex-regulators, officials and MPs to serve the industries they once vetted as public servants. Dr Joe Smith has been appointed chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA), which CropLife, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and AusBiotech founded a decade ago to promote the agricultural biotech and chemical industries.

ABCA describes its new chair, Joe Smith, as "former national Gene Technology Regulator, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and Director of the Therapeutic Goods Administration Laboratories".

16.02.2022 |

Lords Committee issue strong criticism on lack of guidance in proposed regulatory change on use of Genetically Modified plants

Producing food safely matters, it matters for the environment, welfare, farmers, consumers and the hospitality and catering industry. So it is good news that the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has published a report after considering the draft Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2022.

The instrument, laid by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), proposes to remove the legal requirement for obtaining the Secretary of State’s consent, completing a risk assessment and conducting a public consultation before releasing plants with genetic modifications, which could have occurred naturally or been produced by traditional breeding, into the environment for non-marketing purposes.

16.02.2022 |

MEPs demand EU funding for research into gene editing surveillance

A cross-party coalition of MEPs co-signed a letter to the European Commission demanding EU-funded research into the potential risks and analytical detection of genetically engineered organisms, stressing this is needed to create informed policies on the matter.

The letter sent 8 February, emphasises that the EU executive cannot just invest in EU research to advance genetically modified (GM) technology and its applications, but should also “urgently invest in EU research to deepen our knowledge of potential risks, and to enable the detection and traceability of GM products across the food chain”.

15.02.2022 |

Regulation by Stealth bringing GMOs to English Farms

How we produce food matters. It matters for the environment, for welfare and for safety. It matters to the farmer, to the consumer and to the chef.

Our farmers are currently locked into a system of high inputs, profligate energy use and waste and environmental destruction. Nothing short of radical change will break this lock-in and yet there appears to be no change in sight. In fact, in England, we are about to create a new lock-in that could be even harder to break.

15.02.2022 |

Transgenic ornamental fish out of control in Brazil

Scientists worry about ecological balance

15 February 2022 / A recent study from Brazil shows that genetically engineered fluorescent ornamental fish (zebrafish, Dania rerio) have escaped from breeding facilities in large numbers and spread into regional river systems. The transgenic fish are sold in various countries as ornamental fish for aquariums under the trade name GloFish. The paper was published in the Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment journal, and was picked up in the current issue of Science, among others.

15.02.2022 |

GM Glofish are thriving in the wild in Brazil

Escape underlines yet again the inadequacy of GMO regulations around the world. Report: Claire Robinson and Jonathan Matthews

Fish genetically engineered to glow in the dark have escaped from fish farms in Brazil and are multiplying in creeks in the Atlantic forest, a new study shows. The GM fluorescent fish are designed for aquariums and are trademarked and marketed as Glofish.

Biologists worry that the GM fish could threaten the local fauna in one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet. "This is serious," ecologist Jean Vitule at the Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, told Science magazine. Vitule says the ecological impacts are unpredictable. He worries that fluorescence genes could be introduced into native fish with detrimental effects, perhaps making them more visible to predators. "It’s like a shot in the dark," he says.