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: Weizenkorn Triticum Karamyschevii Schwamlicum fotografiert von Ursula Schulz-Dornburg im Vavilov Institut zu St.Petersburg

27.01.2021 |

Survey: EU citizens reject genetic engineering of wild species with Gene Drives

European “Stop Gene Drives” campaign demands global moratorium

Brussels, 27.01.2021

Should humanity release genetically engineered gene drive organisms into nature? The response of a majority of citizens in eight European countries is: “No, the risks are too high”. This first opinion poll on the subject shows high levels of opposition to (46% - 70%) and very low levels of support for (7% - 16%) the use of Gene Drive technology in the environment. The survey of nearly 9,000 people is representative of 280 million EU citizens from eight EU countries. It was commissioned by nine NGOs demanding an informed and inclusive public debate and a global moratorium on the environmental release of this new type of genetically modified organisms. The survey also reveals that a large proportion of respondents were still undecided (14% - 27%) or did not know how to answer (1% - 24%).

13.01.2021 |

Generation unknown: exposing the truth behind the new generation of GMOs

As Europe's farming sector faces up to the combined challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and an increasingly globalised market, a new generation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is being portrayed as a magical solution.

Some have suggested that these new genetically modified crops, animals and microbes should be exempt from GMO safety legislation, introduced to protect consumers and the environment from the risks posed by GMOs.

This paper argues that these new forms of genetic modification (including techniques such as gene editing) would not make the farming system more resilient to extreme weather, reduce biodiversity loss, or result in healthier food and fairer incomes for farmers, and because of the risks they pose, must be controlled by the existing laws.

It asks key questions as to who will benefit from this new generation of GMOs, who does the technology empower, who does it disempower and who owns it? It also argues for support for genuine solutions that will benefit farmers, consumers and nature in our crisis-engulfed world.

18.12.2020 |

New GE unintentionally leaves traces in cells

CRISPR/Cas gene scissor applications cause changes in gene regulation

18 December 2020 / A new scientific publication shows that CRISPR/Cas gene scissor applications in animals unintentionally leave traces. The findings are not related to unintended changes in the DNA, which have often been described, but to gene regulation, i.e. epigenetics. The effects are heritable and may, for example, result in disruption of embryonic development.

The new scientific publication describes CRISPR/Cas experiments with mice in which their DNA is cut and additional genetic information inserted. Besides intended changes in DNA in the target region, the findings also showed unintended changes in so-called epigenetic markers that control gene regulation. The effects were heritable and could still be identified after ten generations. According to the authors, the effects can also be used to identify CRISPR/Cas gene scissor applications.

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.”

Wir bedanken uns ganz herzlich bei allen Spenderinnen und Spendern!

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