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Save Our Seeds Flyer

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Welcome to "Save Our Seeds"

‘Save Our Seeds’ (SOS) is a European initiative in favor of the purity of seeds against genetically modified organisms (GMO). The initiative was created in 2002 by the Foundation on Future Farming and since then advocates no tolerance for contamination of seeds by GMOs.

From this initiative hundreds of organizations and some thousand citizens of the EU have become affiliated with Save Our Seeds’ many activities. The projects combine the genetic engineering controversy and sustainable land and food sovereignty with an international perspective. 

SOS organizes the yearly GMO Free Regions conference, leads the European Stop Gene Drive Campaign,  the Bantam Mais action and is co-publisher of the Informationsdienst Gentechnik (GE Info Service). SOS was involved in the creation of the Weltagrarbericht (World Agriculture Report) and has shared its findings all over Germany. Together with many other organizations, SOS is responsible for the campaign “Meine Landwirtschaft – Unsere Wahl” (My Agriculture, Our Choice), engaged with the realignment of European agricultural policy after 2013.

With its campaigns and initiatives, SOS networks with different organizations, companies, politicians, scientists, farmers, and interested citizens; and wishes to lead a productive debate towards sustainable change.  

78 NGOs call for European ban and global moratorium on Gene Drives

Berlin, 30. June 2020 In an open letter initiated by Greenpeace EU, Friends of the Earth Europe, IFOAM EU and the German initiative Save Our Seeds, 78 environmental, agricultural, animal welfare and development aid organizations from all over Europe are calling on the EU-Commission to outlaw the release of so-called Gene Drive Organisms in the EU and internationally. With this new application of genetic engineering, entire animal populations and species in nature could be reprogrammed or eradicated. 

Enabled by the genetic engineering method CRISPR/CAS9, mosquitoes, mice, fruit flies and other organisms can be manipulated in the laboratory to pass on a certain trait and the mechanism for genetic manipulation to all offspring and across generations. In this way, Gene Drive Organisms can replace their relatives in nature. The Gene Drive trait also asserts itself when it is deadly to the survival of the species – thereby ovveridingthe normal rules of evolutionary selection. 

The signatory organisations are calling on the EU to advocate a global moratorium on the release of Gene Drive Organisms at the next Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The European Parliament had already called for such a moratorium in a resolution from January this year, responding to a call from over 200 signatories from Europe and worldwide. 

"The loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest challenges of our time. While the risks ofGene Drive technology have not yet been scientifically assessed, it could have a massive impact on already damaged ecosystems. It is irresponsible to expose species and ecosystems to further risks“ explains the initiator of the European "Stop GeneDrives" campaign, Mareike Imken from the German initiative Save Our Seeds. 

She adds: „The EU Commission recently presented its biodiversity strategy, with which it wants to make the EU a global pioneer for the protection of biodiversity and put an end to the ongoing mass extinction of species. The Gene Drive technology however is designed to drive wild populations and species into self destruction. The use of such a technology contradicts the aim of biodiversity conservation and the precautionary principle, which is the basis for international and EU nature conservation law. A global moratorium would give us the time to assess environmental and health risks, publicly evaluate and discuss this technology and to establish missing regulations and globaldecision-making mechanisms. In the meanwhile, no one in the world should use this technology." 

Further reading:

Policy briefing: „Why a global moratorium on the release of Gene Drive Organisms is necessary“ by Save Our Seeds

Executive Summary of „Gene Drives: A report on the science, applications, social aspects, ethics and regulations.“ By the European Network of Scientists for Social andEnvironmental Responsibility (ENSSER), Critical Scientist Switzerland and theFederation of German Scientists (VDW), published in 2019.

 

Short documentary on the science, applications, ecological and social ramifications and necessary regulation of Gene Drive technology with statements from international experts, based on the findings of the report (above).

Stop Gene Drive Website

 Contact:

Mareike Imken, policy advisor and head of the European „Stop Gene Drives“ campaign, imken@saveourseeds.org +49(0) 151-53112969


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.”

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.

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.

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.

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