Save Our Seeds

Saatgut ist die Grundlage unserer Ernährung. Es steht am Anfang und am Ende eines Pflanzenlebens. Die Vielfalt und freie Zugänglichkeit dieses Menschheitserbes zu erhalten, das von Generation zu Generation weitergegeben wird, ist die Aufgabe von Save Our Seeds.

Foto:
Ursula Schulz-Dornburg

13.01.2020 |

EU Commission bans Bayer pesticide linked to harming bees

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission decided on Monday not to renew approval for a pesticide linked to harming bees, effectively banning Bayer’s insecticide known as thiacloprid.

The decision follows approval by a majority of EU governments in October last year, based on a proposal from the Commission, the bloc’s executive.

“There are environmental concerns related to the use of this pesticide, particularly its impact on groundwater, but also related to human health, in reproductive toxicity,” Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement.

In principle, farmers will not be allowed to use the insecticide, sold under brands Calypso and Biscaya, after April 30 this year, when its current approval expires.

In practice, EU governments have until Aug. 3 this year to withdraw authorisations, with a possible grace period ending on Feb. 3, 2021.

08.01.2020 |

The Gene Drive Dilemma: We Can Alter Entire Species, but Should We?

FEATURE

A new genetic engineering technology could help eliminate malaria and stave off extinctions — if humanity decides to unleash it.

(.....)

What made the gene drive truly strange and remarkable, though, was that it didn’t stop with one set of offspring. Generation after generation, it would relentlessly copy and paste the gene it carried, until it was present in every descendant. “For most of the people in the room, you could tell it was the first they’d heard of this,” James recalled. “You could see their eyes getting big.”

21.12.2019 |

Here’s Why Many CRISPR/Cas9 Experiments Could Be Wrong – and How to Fix Them

Researchers assumed that CRISPR was turning off genes. They shouldn’t have.

Every living cell on Earth has proteins. Typically thousands of them, that serve as molecular machines to digest food, sense the environment, or anything else a cell must do. However, many genes, and the proteins they code for, have unknown functions. In humans, the function of about 1 out of 5 of genes is unknown. To explore these dark corners of the genome, scientists can break up DNA to disable a gene, making their encoded proteins nonfunctional, and watch what happens to cells as a result, inferring the lost function from what goes wrong.

When CRISPR/Cas9 came online in 2012, it offered scientists a tool to do exactly this – cut genes. The Cas9 enzyme searches through DNA, using a “guide RNA” to look for a specific sequence, and makes a cut when it finds a match. The gene, split in two, is repaired by the cell, but often with a large chunk missing. Many scientists assume that if a chunk of a gene is missing then the protein that it encodes will not function, or even be produced.

In many cases, they would be terribly wrong.

20.12.2019 |

Philippines approves potentially unsafe GM golden rice for food and feed

Rice has not been safety tested in animals or humans

According to an announcement by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Philippines Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry has stated that it has found GMO golden rice to be "as safe as conventional rice".

The biosafety permit, addressed to the Department of Agriculture - Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), details the approval of GR2E golden rice for direct use as food and feed, or for processing (FFP).

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Not tested for safety

In spite of these opinions, no animal feeding studies have been released to the public that could attest to the food safety of this GM rice. Human trials have focused on efficacy (ability of the subjects to absorb the beta-carotene in the rice) and not safety. So claims of food safety are assumptions that are not evidence-based.

19.12.2019 |

Farmer-scientist group condemns Golden Rice approval

In a sly move characteristic of the GM proponents including the various agencies in the Joint Department Circular (JDC), the direct use for food, feed and processing of the genetically modified (GM) Golden Rice has been approved on December 10 despite the staunch opposition from farmers and consumers in the Philippines. MASIPAG condemns the Golden Rice approval and the collusion among the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice) and the Dept. of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) which gravely threatens not only the health of the people and the environment, but also the future of rice production and farmers’ control of seeds.

Farmers and consumers in the Philippines and in other countries as well, remain adamant that Golden Rice will not address the Vitamin A Deficiency among vulnerable sectors in developing countries, but is in fact a tool of the increasing corporate control over agriculture. By harking on the humanitarian packaging of the Golden Rice, and marketing it as ‘Healthier Rice,’ proponents are deceiving and blinding the people from the ulterior intention of Golden Rice which is to usher in more genetically modified food such as soybean, cotton, potato and more varieties of GM corn. According to IRRI’s website, research is also being conducted on high-iron and zinc rice in response to iron-deficiency anemia and stunting.

10.12.2019 |

What Food Retailers Need to Know about the New GMO Deregulation

When it comes to GMOs in food, there is a strong alliance between food retailers and consumers. Consumers do not want GMOs in their food, and food retailers do not want to sell any. Leading European retailers have developed “non-GMO” and organic product lines in response to consumer demand for non-GMO products in the conventional and organic sector. Both product lines represent sustainability, transparency and quality.

But recent developments at EU level and in several member states might challenge the strategy, business model and financial results of food retailers: It is highly likely that the new EU Commission will make a proposal for the deregulation of products obtained with new genetic engineering – and food retailers could suffer tremendously from this development.

05.12.2019 |

Gene Drive Organisms: An introduction to a dangerous new technology putting Africans at risk

Gene Drive Organisms are built to intentionally spread their implanted traits through an entire population and could easily be designed to cause a whole species to become extinct or replaced. So far this ‘exterminator technology’ has never been tested in a natural, or even semi-natural environment but the day of GDO release is coming.

This report explains what Gene Drives are, who is behind them, and what rights and tools communities in Africa have to stop them.

14.11.2019 |

MEPs oppose import authorisation of herbicide-resistant GMOs

The European Parliament has voted against plans to authorise the import of four varieties of genetically-modified crops.

Passed with a significant majority, the non-binding resolutions call on the European Commission to withdraw draft decisions that authorise the import of four varieties of cotton, soy and maize.

These GMOs have been made tolerant to glyphosate and glufosinate ammonium, both herbicides, meaning they can be exposed to repeated doses without suffering damage. Citing a number of scientific studies, MEPs warned that as a result they could lead to higher quantity of pesticide residues in the harvest.

The Parliament also criticised the Commission for the continuing to authorise imported genetically-modified products despite objections from member states and MEPs.

In October MEPs had passed similar non-binding motions opposing three other herbicide-resistant GMOs.

13.11.2019 |

Australia: Government and ‘opposition’ sign off on uncontrolled GM experiment

The Federal Government and Labor Party have submitted Australians to a nationwide genetic experiment, by failing to support a Greens’ motion disallowing amendments to the Gene Technology Regulations. The amendments allow most animals, plants and microbes modified using CRISPR and similar techniques to be released into the environment and food chain without any risk assessment.

The changes effectively turn Australia – our ecosystems and our health – into a giant genetic engineering experiment.

Last week the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) wrote to all Australian Senators urging them to disallow recent amendments to the Gene Technology Regulations. A number of Australian Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) have also called for regulation on safety grounds. These include the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research IBC, Victoria University IBC, Children’s Medical Research Institute and Children’s Hospital Westmead IBC, and the University of Wollongong IBC.

11.11.2019 |

ETC Podcast Episode #1: Gene drives in Africa

ETC will be occasionally chatting with collaborators, activists and experts about emerging technologies. Check for the ETC podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or other podcast services. A full list of episodes can be found at etcgroup.libsyn.com In Episode #1 ETC's Tom Wakeford speaks with Ugandan lawyer and advocate Barbara Ntambirweki about gene drives, a powerful new genetic technology that can change species in the wild and make species go extinct.

Wir bedanken uns ganz herzlich bei allen Spenderinnen und Spendern!

Rund um die alternativen Grüne Woche 2020 lädt SOS zu einer Vielzahl von Mitmach-Aktionen ein: Am 17.01.20 basteln wir bei der Schnippeldisko Kostüme für unseren SOS-Demozug bei der Wir-haben-es-satt!-Demo am 18.01.20. Bei unserem „Samba für die Vielfalt“ werden wir wieder von einer Percussion-Band begleitet. Beim anschließenden Soup'n'Talk gibt es heiße Suppe und mehr Informationen zu unserer Gene Drive Kampagne.

Im Mai 2019 fand in Bern ein interdisziplinäres Symposium über die wissenschaftlichen, ethischen, sozio-ökonomischen und regulatorischen Aspekte von Gene Drives statt. Zudem wurde ein 350 Seiten starker Bericht zu der neuen Technologie prsäentiert.

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