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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

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.

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.

03.08.2020 |

Gene editing: Unexpected outcomes and risks

Technical advisor: Dr Michael Antoniou

More papers have been published on unintended outcomes and risks of gene editing in medical research on human and animal cells and laboratory animals, compared with plants. The results have implications for the gene editing of farm animals. The problems found with human and animal gene editing are increasingly being confirmed in plant gene editing.

The unintended mutational (DNA damaging) outcomes summarized below occur after the gene-editing tool has completed its task of creating a double-strand DNA break. The mutations occur as a consequence of the cell’s DNA repair machinery, over which the genetic engineer has no control. So even if scientists eventually succeed in avoiding off-target mutations, most of the unintended mutations described can still occur at the intended gene-editing site.

20.07.2020 |

Conflicts of interest plague GM mosquito experiments

Journal refuses to publish scientist’s defence of his paper warning of unexpected outcomes from GM mosquitoes release. Report: Claire Robinson

As the citizens of Florida and Texas prepare to act as subjects in an experiment in which millions of Oxitec's genetically modified mosquitoes would be released in their states, a scandal has emerged around a journal's treatment of a scientific article that drew attention to unanticipated outcomes and risks of the project.

09.07.2020 |

The EU must not de-regulate gene-edited crops and foods

Some members of the outgoing EU Commission and the agbiotech lobby want the regulations governing genetically modified crops and foods relaxed or scrapped to open markets for gene-edited products. But this goes against the science underpinning the technology and could put the public and environment at risk, writes Dr Michael Antoniou.

Dr Michael Antoniou is molecular geneticist at King’s College London

Some members of the outgoing European Commission want to change the EU legislation on genetically modified (GM) foods and crops to accommodate the products of new gene-editing techniques, often called “new plant breeding techniques” or NBTs.

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said DG SANTE “has already prepared the ground for a new initiative on gene editing to overhaul the current GMO legislation”. The “initiative” will be taken up by the new Commission after this year’s elections.

07.07.2020 |

Groups warn against release of genetically-engineered mosquitoes in Nigeria

Over 75 Civil Society Organizations from Nigeria, Africa and the world have condemned moves to open the way for the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in Nigeria.

Their condemnation follows a recent call by the West African Integrated Vector Management Programme and the National Biosafety Management Agency for the fast track the introduction of genetically based vector control methods such as transgenic mosquitoes into Nigeria.

Reacting, the coalition in a statement warned against the introduction of the transgenic mosquitoes, genetically modified vectors or other unproven technologies into Nigeria as such releases would pose serious risks to humans, the nations’ biodiversity and its ecosystem balance.

07.07.2020 |

Genome Editing in Food and Farming: Risks and Unexpected Consequences

The report provides an overview of the new genetic engineering techniques of genome editing being explored in agriculture, and the range of risks and potential unexpected consequences that can arise from them.

The purpose of our report is to support public discussions about the possible implications of using genetic engineering in food and farming. How should new genetic engineering technologies be used, and how should decisions about them be made?

02.07.2020 |

No patents on genetically engineered chimpanzees!

Huge success for animal welfare coalition and environmental organisations

Thursday, 2 July 2020

The European Patent Office (EPO) has for ethical reasons now declared two patents on genetically engineered chimpanzees to be no longer valid. All claims on genetically engineered animals have to be removed from the patents concerned. The Technical Board of Appeal at the EPO decided in favour of oppositions and appeals filed by a broad coalition of animal welfare and environmental organisations. European patent law prohibits patents on the genetic engineering of animals if it is likely to cause animal suffering. Exceptions are only made if there is real evidence of substantial medical benefit. According to the EPO, no such benefit was shown. It is the first time that the EPO has interpreted this rule so strictly. The decision is also binding for other cases.

30.06.2020 |

Gene Drive technology: Species extinction through genetic engineering?

Stop Gene Drives
Stop Gene Drives

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 EUCommission to outlaw the release of so-called Gene Drive Organisms in the EU and internationally.

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. 

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