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

25.03.2020 |

UPOV : Indeed, new GMOs can be accurately identified

Companies are claiming all around the world that nobody is able to differentiate between their new GMOs and plants that have acquired the same targeted mutation naturally or through traditional breeding methods. But a contrario they claim to be able to accurately characterize their own plant varieties by genetic tools, as evidenced by the work performed at the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). Fortunately, the same methods and tools are usable to differentiate new GMOs from non-GM plants, provided a political will exists to roll out the appropriate protocols.

17.03.2020 |

New report: strict regulation of new genomic techniques is scientifically necessary

Environmental impacts of CRISPR/Cas and its challenges for risk assessment

17 March 2020 / In a new report, Testbiotech provides an overview of the latest research developments in environmental risk assessment and new methods of genetic engineering (also known as ‘genome editing’ or ‘new genomic technicques’). The authors come to the conclusion there are imperative scientific reasons for all organisms derived from these new techniques to undergo mandatory risk assessment before they can be released or marketed. Therefore, regulation requirements foreseen by current GMO law in the EU must be mandatory whether or not additional DNA sequences are inserted. In addition, a broad range of ethical and social issues must be taken into account by the regulatory decision-makers.

The report focuses on possible impacts that new methods of genetic engineering (genome editing) can have on the environment. It is primarily concerned with CRISPR/Cas nucleases classified as ‘site directed nucleases’ SDN-1 and SDN -2. These applications are not meant to introduce additional gene sequences. Nevertheless, the pattern of intended and unintended changes and the resulting new combinations of genetic information arising from genome editing will, in most cases, be different in comparison to those derived from conventional breeding. These differences co-occur with biological characteristics and risks that need to be fully investigated before any conclusions on the safety of the new organisms can be drawn.

20.02.2020 |

Health, environment and climate are not negotiable

More than 100 civil society organisations demand a stop to trade talks with the US that will further endanger EU rules on health and the environment and aggravate the climate crisis. A change of course is needed.

We have followed the recent talks between the European Commission and the US authorities on a new trade agreement with disbelief and disappointment. It has become clear that the Commission is prepared to accommodate Trump’s demands for a reduction of EU food safety levels, to the detriment of public health, animal welfare and the environment, and also undermining EU commitments on climate change.

Fear of threats made by the US President to impose high tariffs on European cars cannot be an excuse for retreating on basic public interest. The apparent paradigm shift within the Commission, emerging after months of negotiating behind closed doors and largely shielded from public scrutiny, is highly alarming. We call on governments and parliamentarians in the EU to push the Commission to alter its course. It must be made clear to the US Administration that our public health and environmental protection levels are not for sale.

10.02.2020 |

French Council of State imposes strict application of European GMO legislation

Brussels, 10 February 2020 – France’s Council of State has ruled in favour of a coalition of associations, including the Confédération paysanne, who had mobilised against GMO, taking legal action against the French government.

The associations petitionned the court in 2015 over the then Prime Minister’s refusal to declare a moratorium on the cultivation in France of varieties made tolerant to herbicides, or to apply GMO regulations to all varieties obtained by new mutagenesis techniques.

Last week, the Council of State found in favour of the associations, ruling that organisms obtained using new mutagenesis techniques should be subject to European regulations on GMO, specifically European Directive of 12 March 2001 (2001/18/EC). In accordance with the precautionary principle, risk assessments should be carried out on GMO, which must also be subject to compulsory public information, labelling and monitoring requirements.

05.02.2020 |

New GMOs: Kyriakides gets off on wrong foot with biased consultation

The new EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides recently told EURACTIV.com that her “priority is to gather more information” on gene editing. To this end, she said, “we will be preparing a study on new genomic techniques, foreseen for spring 2021”. Clearly, the design and set-up of such a study will be crucial to its outcome, writes Nina Holland.

By Nina Holland, a researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory

On 10 February 2020, DG SANTE will hold a ‘targeted stakeholder consultation’ to discuss the set-up of this policy study on ‘new genomic techniques’.

However, only Brussels-based organisations have been invited and the list of invitees shows an enormous bias towards industry interests. Out of 94 organisations invited, more than 70% represent industrial food and farming interests, contrasting with fewer than 12% of NGOs.

Such a biased set-up raises concerns that the study is being designed to deliver a pre-determined conclusion.

23.01.2020 |

RAGES subreport: New genetic engineering technologies

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), predominantly plants, have been commercially grown in some countries, notably the Americas, since the mid-1990s. Current GMOs have been developed using ‘first generation’ genetic engineering technologies. More recently, new applications of GMOs and new modes of creating novel traits have been developed alongside new genetic engineering technologies. Grafting, cisgenesis and intragenesis, reverse breeding and RNA-directed DNA

methylation (RdDM) either utilise GMOs created using first generation techniques as an intermediary stage or can, in the case of agro-infiltration, unintentionally give rise to GMOs. Most, if not all, of the principal concerns regarding first generation GMOs apply to these new types of GMOs and new genetic engineering techniques. Some novel types of GMOs (e.g. RNA interference (RNAi)-based GM plants) present additional challenges for risk assessment, as do new genetic engineering techniques, such as genome editing.

19.01.2020 |

GM food: Keep EU rules or risk health, says gene expert

A war of words has broken out among some of Britain’s leading scientists over the safety of genetically modified crops and livestock.

It follows a warning by a genome researcher at King’s College London that Crispr, the “high-precision” gene-editing technology that is revolutionising DNA research, is less precise than has been claimed and could create mutant crops that produce toxic or carcinogenic proteins.

Michael Antoniou, head of King’s gene expression and therapy group, said that after Brexit ministers should retain the tough EU rules that have blocked most genetically modified crops and livestock from commercial use.

16.01.2020 |

NGO letter to all MEPs: Call to support amendments on gene drive organisms in EP motion for a resolution on COP 15 CBD

NGO letter
NGO letter

Motion for a resolution on the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (B9-0035/2020); Please support amendments 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

With this letter, we are asking you to support a call for a global moratorium on so-called Gene Drives as part of the European Parliament’s motion for a resolution on the 15th meeting of the

Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Biodiversity is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. An estimate of 1 million species is threatened with extinction. This is the grim conclusion of the landmark report from the

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Gene Drives – a new eradication technology

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.”

Wir bedanken uns ganz herzlich bei allen Spenderinnen und Spendern!

Seit Januar hat die SOS-Kampagne für ein Freisetzungsverbot von Gene Drive-Organismen eine eigene Homepage. Auf www.stop-genedrives.eu finden Sie alle Informationen zu unserer Kampagne gebündelt und in neuem Design.

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 präsentiert.

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