Trial puts biodiversity and olive production in the Mediterranean region at risk
The UK company Oxitec is planning to release genetically engineered olive flies into the environment in Spain (Catalonia). The insects are genetically manipulated in such a way that female descendants will die as larvae feeding inside the olives, while the next generations of male flies will survive. Oxitec plans to release up to 5000 of these flies per week in Spain, near the town of Tarragona. The field trial expected to last for one year will cover a netted area of 1000m2. However, if the flies escape they can spread without any control.
Call to stop EU authorisation of genetically engineered soybeans containing a mix of chemical residues that might be carcinogenic
Testbiotech is warning that EU market authorisation might be given to a new genetically engineered soybean produced by Monsanto. Soybean MON 87708 × MON 89788 was made resistant to two pesticides, glyphosate and dicamba. Spraying soybean crops with these herbicides leaves residues in the plants which might be carcinogenic. Glyphosate was recently classified as “probably carcinogenic” by an international expert group. Dicamba degrades to compounds such as formaldehyde, which has already been classified as carcinogenic for several years.
Claims on genetically engineered chimpanzees withdrawn before the decision
The European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked the patent EP1409646 held by Altor BioScience. After the US company withdrew its controversial claims on genetically engineered chimpanzees, the EPO has now also revoked a changed version of the patent claiming genetically engineered rats and mice as inventions. The decision was made on the basis that there were flaws in the technical quality of the patent. The opponents believe this outcome is an important success, but are warning that it does not indicate a general change in the legal practice of the EPO.