News

17.09.2020 |

Open letter: Commission turning blind eye to new GMOs

88 civil society and farmers organisations from across Europe are today warning the EU Commission is turning a blind eye to new GMOs and demanding EU health and food safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides keeps new GMOs regulated, in an open letter.

The controversial new generation of food genetic engineering techniques should be subject to EU safety checks and consumer labelling, according to an EU Court of Justice ruling, but the organisations complain the European Commission is not implementing this ruling.

17.09.2020 |

Genome Editing Pioneer Violated Biosafety Rules

Official documents reveal that Daniel Voytas, a professor at the University of Minnesota and the co-inventor of the genome editing tool TALENs, has been found to have violated basic laboratory biosafety rules for a period of more than two years.

Unapproved and unsupervised genetic engineering in the Voytas lab appears to have included the development of a new commercial technique for rapid production of gene edited plants called Fast-Treated Agrobacterium Co-Culture, or “Fast-TrACC”. The patent-pending technique has been licensed by the University of Minnesota to Calyxt, a controversial biotechnology company co-founded by Voytas and where he serves as Chief Science Officer.

15.09.2020 |

Gene edited crop can’t stand the light of day

On 7 September, Greenpeace and others announced an open source detection test for the first gene-edited crop on the market, SU Canola, developed by US company Cibus. The test was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Foods.

SU Canola is a rapeseed engineered with oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis (ODM), a gene editing technique, to withstand spraying with certain herbicides. Products of gene editing fall within the scope of EU GMO law, according to a European Court of Justice ruling of 2018.

14.09.2020 |

Why the UK could end up deploying risky gene drives while ignoring natural biological control

First they cloned Dolly the sheep. Now they’re targeting grey squirrels. Report: Jonathan Matthews

This summer 78 environmental, agricultural, animal welfare and development organisations from all over Europe called on the European Union to outlaw the release of Gene Drive Organisms in the EU and internationally, warning that reprogramming or eradicating entire animal populations posed grave risks. They’re hoping that the European Union will respect the precautionary principle and reject the release into the wild of this application of ecosystem-level genetic engineering, given its many unexplored risks.

But what about deployment of gene drives in the UK? After all, the UK government deliberately avoided transferring the precautionary principle into post-Brexit law. And given that it has made “liberating” biotechnology a flagship goal and has already begun a push to deregulate gene-editing, it seems highly unlikely that it would support a moratorium.

07.09.2020 |

First open source detection test for a gene-edited GM crop

Brussels – Greenpeace, together with other non-governmental organisations, non-GMO food associations and a food retailer, announced that the first-ever public detection method for a gene-edited crop has been successfully developed and published. The new research refutes claims by the biotech industry and some regulators that new genetically modified (GM) crops engineered with gene editing are indistinguishable from similar, non-GM crops and therefore cannot be regulated.

The new method detects a herbicide-tolerant rapeseed variety that was developed using gene editing, a new form of genetic engineering. It allows European Union (EU) countries to carry out checks to prevent this unauthorised GM crop from entering EU food and feed supply chains illegally.

20.08.2020 |

Podcast #4: What is Technology?

And why do we need technology assessment? An interview with Jim Thomas

In this episode, ETC Co-Executive Director Jim Thomas explains how ETC understands technology, "Mooney's Law," and the utility of technology assessments for social movements. The episode is hosted by Zahra Moloo.

16.08.2020 |

Not-so-golden rice: Agro-imperialism in a time of COVID-19 (Part 1)

The Gates Foundation funded project ‘Golden Rice’(link is external) is an unnecessary and unwanted GMO technology driven by big agriculture corporations purely for profit. It endangers agrobiodiversity, self-determination and community health in the global south. Agroecologists & small-medium/peasant farmer networks have been campaigning against the propagation and commercialisation of Golden Rice since the mid-2000s(link is external) via protest and direct action resistance.

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This is Episode 1 of a three part series featuring concerned activists from the Stop Golden Rice Network(link is external) speaking at an urgent online forum to commemorate the International Day of Action Against Golden Rice(link is external).

12.08.2020 |

New genetic engineering techniques associated with numerous risks

New scientific paper demonstrates the need for process oriented risk assessment

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

A new scientific paper published in the Environmental Sciences Europe journal gives an overview of the risks associated with genome editing procedures (new genetic engineering) for plants and animals. The risks are not only restricted to a wide range of unintended effects that can be triggered by the process of genome editing. There are also risks associated with the intended biological characteristics generated through genome editing.

Genome editing techniques, in particular those using the CRISPR/Cas 'gene scissors', increase the possibilities and speed with which the genomes of plants and animals can be altered. It does not matter whether additional genes are introduced into the genome or not. Small genetic modifications are often performed in combination and can cause significant changes in metabolic pathways and plant composition. The study concludes that the novel, intended properties must be thoroughly tested, even if no additional genes are inserted.

11.08.2020 |

NO to genetic engineering in our forests!

The biotech industry wants to make genetic engineering acceptable by touting it as the key to saving endangered species. In reality, it it is unleashing a massive, irreversible experiment with unforeseeable consequences for the environment. We can’t let this go ahead – tell the US Department of Agriculture to say NO to Frankentrees!

Call to action!

09.08.2020 |

Experts debunk false claims that GM Bt cotton in India has been a grand success

By nearly all measures, hybrid GM Bt cotton in India is a failure.

Three eminent experts have joined forces to debunk claims by members of two influential think tanks that GM Bt cotton in India has been a resounding success.

The claims were made by Dr Ramesh Chand, a member of the Indian Government think tank Niti Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), in an interview published by BloombergQuint in July 2020. Dr Chand said that India has three pressing needs: improving farm efficiency, sustainability, and food security. He claimed that a “positive environment" for GM crops was developing in India “as there is no credible study to show any adverse impact of growing Bt cotton in the last 18 years in the country”.

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