How the EU Commission and EFSA are paving the way for deregulation of New GE
30 June 2022 / Testbiotech recently participated in an European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) consultation on guidelines for the risk assessment of ‘cisgenic’ plants, which ended at the beginning of this week. The ‘cisgenic’ plants are genetically engineered, but, in contrast to transgenic plants, contain no genetic material from other species. EFSA suggests that most applications of CRISPR/Cas can be put into this category. The consultation is, therefore, generally relevant to the risk assessment of plants derived from New GE (also called new genomic techniques, NGT).
18 June 2022 / According to recent UK and South Korean publications, new genetic engineering techniques (New GE) have been used to produce tomatoes with a higher concentration of Vitamin D. The researchers used CRISPR/Cas technology to ‘knock-out’ gene functions which are important for the plants’ reaction to stress conditions. The tomatoes have a higher concentration of vitamin D3, but at the same time, they may be, e.g. more susceptible to plant pests.
‘Benefits’ of genetically engineered plants completely reversed
3 June 2022 / In a recent publication, scientists from Argentina and Brazil show how the spread of black armyworm (Spodoptera cosmioides) is being promoted by the cultivation of transgenic soybean plants. Black armyworm are the larvae of a butterfly and considered to be a pest insect. Transgenic “Intacta” soybeans, which were originally produced by Monsanto, are resistant to glyphosate and produce an insecticidal protein. The combination of these traits contributes to the spread of the larvae which can then cause substantial damage in the fields.
Study sheds new light on the risks of New GE
25 May 2022 / A recent study has highlighted how changes in single genes can impact food webs and ecosystems. In the study, the researchers separated out and planted different genetic variants (alleles) of the genetic model organism Arabidopsis thaliana - which would all exist together in natural populations. The outcome was surprising: even a reduction in the diversity of a single gene caused species interacting with the plants to become extinct. The researchers therefore refer to such genes as ‘keystone genes’.