News

04.03.2019 |

Failure of Monsanto’s drought tolerant maize pushed on Africa – confirmed in US

Genetic engineering, through the use of a single gene, cannot address the complexity of drought
Genetic engineering, through the use of a single gene, cannot address the complexity of drought

The ACB shares with you a blog written by ACB’s Sabrina Masinjila and KBIOC’s Anne Maina

A recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report confirms what independent biosafety scientists, and African civil society, have been stating all along: Monsanto’s drought tolerant (DT) maize (MON87460) does not work!

The USDA report reveals that performance of corn (maize) varieties transformed with the genetically engineered (GE) trait claimed to be DT is poor in terms of both yields and adoption rates, as compared with non-GE (conventionally bred) DT corn.

Findings of the USDA report

Non-GE DT corn was introduced in the US in 2011 and GE DT corn in 2013. By 2016, at least 80% of US DT corn acres were planted with conventionally-bred varieties and only 3% with GE DT seed. The report states that the diffusion of GE DT corn has lagged behind the diffusion of the non-GE DT hybrids, confirming non-performance of the GE drought trait.

04.03.2019 |

UNEP - Synthetic biology: Re-engineering the environment

FRONTIERS 2018/19 Emerging Issues of Environmental
FRONTIERS 2018/19 Emerging Issues of Environmental ConcernSynthetic Biology: Re-engineering the environment

The ability to successfully alter organisms at the genetic level has excited scientists and the general public alike. Gene-editing techniques are advancing rapidly, bringing the promise of many biological and ecological benefits, from eradicating human diseases to preventing species extinction. CRISPR-Cas9 is the latest, quickest tool in the genetic editing tool box, allowing extraordinary precision in the manipulation of genomes.

However, this ability to create synthetic life and alter existing DNA carries with it the risk of cross contamination and unintended consequences. Hacking the code of life has such major implications that there is an urgent need for governing bodies to collaborate and cooperate in ensuring safe research and development in this field. The rise of the DIY biohacker and the risk of the accidental release of genetically modified organisms into the environment is a cause for regulatory concern. Many of the benefits and challenges of synthetic biology are explored in this fascinating chapter.

27.02.2019 |

More than 11,000 People Are Now Suing Bayer over Weedkiller Cancer Risk

Bayer is now facing lawsuits from around 11,200 plaintiffs over the health implications of Roundup and Ranger Pro, its glyphosate-based weedkillers.

The German life science giant revealed the figure Wednesday as it announced its results for fiscal 2018. Full-year sales were up 13% and EBITDA before special items up 2.8%, but full-year net earnings were down more than three-quarters due to a $3.8 billion impairment charge and a $2.3 billion charge in connection with Bayer’s acquisition of Roundup maker Monsanto.

26.02.2019 |

FAO Report Sounds Alarm on Decline of Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

The first FAO report on the State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture was released during the seventeenth session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The report explains the role of biodiversity and ecological processes for food production, assess its status and threats and drivers causing this biodiversity to decline, and outlines needs and measures to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity for food and agriculture.

It's overall finding is that biodiversity for food and agriculture is in dangerous decline and that research, enabling frameworks and actions are needed stop and reverse the decline.

21.02.2019 |

Open Letter to Australia: Please Regulate New GM Technologies Strictly

To: Minister Bridget McKenzie

We are Consumers Union of Japan, founded in 1969, as a member-based consumer organization. One of our main concerns is the many problems with genetically modified organisms (GMO) and GM food. Consumers in Japan are strongly opposed to GM technology and do not want to eat such products.

In light of this, we are alarmed to hear that Australia is considering to deregulate new GM technologies, including CRISPR, in animals, plants and microbes. Japanese consumers would not at all be willing to eat such products, either. We do not believe the claims that these new technologies are “precise” or “predictable” but regard them with the same mistrust as older GM technologies, that can harm biological diversity, as well as pose unknown risks to human health.

Please regulate new GM technologies as strictly if not even stricter than older GM technologies, or you risk harming Australia’s image as a food producer here in Japan, and we will boycott all such products.

21.02.2019 |

First Federal Monsanto Roundup Trial Begins Monday in San Francisco

February 21, 2019, San Francisco, California – – The trial of Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company (now Bayer) will begin with opening arguments on Monday, February 25, 2019 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco before Judge Vince Chhabria. Jury selection occurred on February 20, 2019 and a panel of seven women and two men were chosen. The trial is expected to last a month.

Mr. Hardeman’s case is the lead case of the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Monsanto and the first of the group to proceed to trial. More than 1,600 cases in the MDL are pending before Judge Chhabria, all filed by plaintiffs who allege exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Case. No. 4:16-cv-00525-DMR / MDL Case No. 3:16-md-02741-VC,Hardeman vs. Monsanto Company et al.

19.02.2019 |

GMO Feature: Canola | Living Non-GMO

Our readers write to us almost every day to ask why they saw canola in a Non-GMO Project Verified product. There’s a fairly pervasive misconception that all canola is genetically modified, but this is not true! Non-GMO canola does exist; when you see canola in a product bearing the Butterfly, you can rest assured that it’s non-GMO canola because we test (major) high-risk crops that go into your food.

13.02.2019 |

UW study: Exposure to chemical in Roundup increases risk for cancer

Source Newsroom: University of Washington

Newswise — Exposure to glyphosate—the world’s most widely used, broad-spectrum herbicide and the primary ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup—increases the risk of some cancers by more than 40 percent, according to new research from the University of Washington.

Various reviews and international assessments have come to different conclusions about whether glyphosate leads to cancer in humans.

The research team conducted an updated meta-analysis—a comprehensive review of existing literature—and focused on the most highly exposed groups in each study. They found that the link between glyphosate and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is stronger than previously reported.

Their findings were published this month in the online journal Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research.

“Our analysis focused on providing the best possible answer to the question of whether or not glyphosate is carcinogenic,” said senior author Lianne Sheppard, a professor in the UW departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Biostatistics. “As a result of this research, I am even more convinced that it is.”

10.02.2019 |

Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence

Abstract

Glyphosate is the most widely used broad-spectrum systemic herbicide in the world. Recent evaluations of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) by various regional, national, and international agencies have engendered controversy. We investigated whether there was an association between high cumulative exposures to GBHs and increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in humans. We conducted a new meta-analysis that included the most recent update of the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) cohort published in 2018 along with five case-control studies. Using the highest exposure groups when available in each study, we report the overall meta-relative risk (meta-RR) of NHL in GBH-exposed individuals was increased by 41% (meta-RR = 1.41, 95% CI, confidence interval: 1.13–1.75). For comparison, we also performed a secondary meta-analysis using high-exposure groups with the earlier AHS (2005), and we determined a meta-RR for NHL of 1.45 (95% CI: 1.11–1.91), which was higher than the meta-RRs reported previously. Multiple sensitivity tests conducted to assess the validity of our findings did not reveal meaningful differences from our primary estimated meta-RR. To contextualize our findings of an increased NHL risk in individuals with high GBH exposure, we reviewed available animal and mechanistic studies, which provided supporting evidence for the carcinogenic potential of GBH. We documented further support from studies of malignant lymphoma incidence in mice treated with pure glyphosate, as well as potential links between GBH exposure and immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, and genetic alterations that are commonly associated with NHL. Overall, in accordance with evidence from experimental animal and mechanistic studies, our current meta-analysis of human epidemiological studies suggests a compelling link between exposures to GBHs and increased risk for NHL.

08.02.2019 |

GMO Bt Crops May Not Be as Safe as Advertised

Cornucopia’s Take: Cry toxins are highly active protein toxins originally isolated from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). They are genetically engineered into some GMO crops to perforate the gut membrane of insects that eat them. Poisoned pests stop eating and eventually die. Unfortunately, non-target animals, including monarch butterflies, swallowtail butterflies, lacewings, caddisflies, bees, water fleas, and mammals, are also susceptible to Cry toxins. Several influential studies used by the industry to show the safety of Cry toxins for non-target organisms are now in question. It appears the researched insects’ feed contained an inexplicably large dose of antibiotics, and antibiotics are known to inhibit the deadly action of Cry toxins.

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