Publication involving German national institution raises several questions
17 September 2020 / A new publication shows that experiments using new genetic engineering techniques were conducted in Germany on cattle. Using a newer version of the so-called CRISPR/Cas gene scissors, the aim of the experiments was to produce hornless dairy cows. To achieve this, cells were taken from the skin of a breeding bull. These cells were subsequently genetically engineered. Afterwards, in an approach similar to that used in cloning ‘Dolly the sheep’, the nuclei from the cells were transferred into ova (egg cells).
Oilseed rape produced by Cibus can be tracked and traced
11 September 2020 / A recent publication has shown that a method of identifying oilseed rape plants produced by the US company, Cibus, can be used to distinguish it from other oilseed varieties. Until now, it was often assumed that this was not possible. The Cibus oilseed rape is resistant to the same herbicide as an oilseed rape produced by BASF. While BASF maintains that their plants are derived from conventional ‘random mutagenesis’, Cibus conducted experiments with new GE techniques.
Approval given for experimental release of 750 million mosquitoes in the US
4 September 2020 / Oxitec is planning to release 750 million mosquitoes in Florida and Texas next year. According to the application, the plan is to only release genetically engineered male insects which will mate with wild female mosquitoes and produce offspring. Only the male offspring will be capable of surviving, whereas the inserted genetic construct is supposed to kill any female offspring. This effect is intended to carry on through following generations so that the mosquito population will be vastly reduced.
Testbiotech demands more precaution in the EU
20 August 2020 / While Russia might have started production of a vaccine that was not thoroughly tested, the EU has lowered its safety standards for the risk assessment of genetically engineered viruses used in vaccines. In doing so, the EU hopes to speed up the approval process for vaccines. In this context, Testbiotech is warning that risks to people and the environment cannot be excluded. Therefore, if there is any doubt about safety, precaution must be the most important principle in the development of any vaccine.