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

25.11.2020 |

EFSA: Confusion about risks associated with New GE plants

Genetic engineering is endangering the livelihoods of future generations
Genetic engineering is endangering the livelihoods of future generations

Opinion of the EU authority considered insufficient and misleading

25 November 2020 / Testbiotech is extremely critical of a recent European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) opinion on the risks associated with plants derived from new genetic engineering (New GE). It considers the EFSA report on CRISPR & Co is both inadequate and misleading on the protection of health and the environment.

In its opinion published yesterday, EFSA claims that applications of gene scissors, such as CRISPR/Cas on plants, do not pose any specific risks as long as no additional genes are inserted. At the same time, EFSA agrees with Testbiotech that New GE opens up the way to new genetic combinations since it makes the whole genome accessible for changes caused, for example, by targeting several genes at once.

13.11.2020 |

Press statement by Save Our Seeds on EFSAs advise for the risk assessment of Gene Drive Insects

save our seeds
save our seeds

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), on 12.11.2020 published an assessment on whether the currently existing European guidelines for the risk assessment of genetically modified insects are sufficient for the risk assessment of genetically modified Gene Drive insects.

Mareike Imken, Gene Drive policy advisor at Save Our Seeds for Gene Drive technology, comments on this:

EFSAs assessment, that existing guidelines for genetically engineered insects are insufficient in order to conduct environmental risk assessment for Gene Drive Organisms,

confirms our analysis. Due to their novel characteristics it will be extremely challenging – if not impossible – to uimodel, predict and monitor the behaviour of these genetically engineered organisms.

11.11.2020 |

EU Committee: Is Cibus SU Canola a GMO or not? What is the test good for?

Our new test keeps authorities and institutions busy. On 12 November 2020, it is on the agenda of the "Regulatory Committee 2001/18" of the EU, where representatives of all member states exchange views on questions of GMO regulation.

With regard to our detection method, two central questions are still being discussed: Is Cibus SU Canola a genetically modified organism (GMO) under EU law or not? And does a GMO detection test also have to identify the applied technology itself?

We have sent a briefing to the responsible representatives of the governments and authorities of the member states in advance, in which it is explained in detail that Cibus SU Canola is clearly to be considered a GMO under current EU law and would therefore be illegal here without approval.

On the basis of the numerous documents available, there is no doubt that the genome editing technique ODM - called Cibus RTDS by Cibus - was used to produce the rapeseed. Under EU law, this is clearly a GMO.

09.11.2020 |

GMO status of Cibus SU Canola

Brussels – In September, an open-source method to detect a gene-edited, herbicide-resistant canola developed by US company Cibus, was published in the scientific journal Foods.

SU Canola is not authorised for placing on the market in the European Union. Cibus’ subsequent statements that the SU Canola varieties currently on the market in North America are “not gene-edited” have caused some uncertainty about their GMO status, amplified by the European seed industry association’s adoption of that narrative.

This briefing sets out why SU Canola is a regulated GMO under the EU’s GMO laws, and why EU competent authorities must ensure this GMO is not present in EU supply chains.

22.10.2020 |

Why New Genetic Engineering needs to be regulated

New report - frequently asked questions about CRISPR & Co

22 October 2020 / Testbiotech is publishing a new report today on New Genetic Engineering (New GE) that shows why these techniques need to be strictly regulated. New GE - or ‘genome editing’ - opens up new possibilities which go way beyond conventional breeding and previous methods of genetic engineering. One of the most important tools in this scenario are CRISPR/Cas gene scissors (nuclease). In contrast to chemical or physical mutagens used in conventional breeding, tools such as CRISPR/Cas can directly interact with biological mechanisms in the cells.

Recent research clearly shows that there are major differences in New GE compared to conventional breeding: over the course of evolution, mechanisms have emerged which can protect specific genomic regions against too frequent mutations. These mechanisms can be described as the ‘flexible safety barriers’ of evolution, and are also effective in conventional breeding. They appear to be relevant to regions in the genome that are of some importance to the survival of a species. New GE is designed to circumvent these mechanisms.

21.10.2020 |

Nonprofit Launches First-of-Its-Kind Database of Studies Documenting Harm from GMOs

UNIONVILLE, Conn., October 21, 2020 /CSRwire/ — GMO Free USA dba Toxin Free USA, a national 501(c)(3), has launched GMOResearch.org, the first-of-its-kind searchable science database of studies and reports on the safety and effects of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and associated agrichemicals.

GMO Research is the world’s most comprehensive science database, containing over 2,000 studies and journal publications documenting risks and potential and actual harmful effects of GMOs (also known as genetically engineered or bioengineered organisms) and the related pesticides and agrichemicals. The database contains references culled from around the world documenting health effects, environmental impacts, impacts on non-target organisms, resistance of target organisms, pesticide drift damage, genetic contamination, horizontal gene transfer and other unintended effects, as well as references related to crop yields, social impact, ethics and economics.

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.

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