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German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation - position paper on new genomic techniques and their regulation

High risk potential requires case-by-case analysis

23 October 2021 /  The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) has outlined its position in a paper published in October on the intention of the EU Commission to evaluate new legislative proposals for the regulation of certain new genomic techniques (NGTs) in plants. The paper concludes that these plants have a similar or even greater risk potential than plants obtained from older genetic engineering techniques.

Unintended changes induced with CRISPR/Cas cause novel risks

New example of specific changes outside the on-target region of the gene scissors

14 October 2021 / Experiments with CRISPR/Cas in zebrafish conducted by scientists at Uppsala University are the first to detect large structural changes at off-target sites. Off-target sites are outside the target site, but can be very similar, which means that the gene scissors can also cut at these sites and cause specific unintended mutations. The publication shows that major DNA changes are possible.

Document published by EU Commission shows intention to deregulate New GE

Possibility for the public to comment

7 October 2021 / While officially calling for adequate regulation and high safety standards, the EU Commission in reality seems to be following a different strategy: A document on future GMO regulation, published end of September, indicates a clear intention for far reaching deregulation of plants derived from new genetic engineering (New GE). Risks associated with the processes of New GE are either not given sufficient weight or are completely disregarded.

“Golden Rice” especially attractive for pest insects?

Higher concentration of carotene benefits plant-feeding insects

24 September 2021 / Recent publications show that genetically engineered (GE) plants fortified with vitamins pose a specific challenge in risk research. A higher content of carotene can be an advantage for insects feeding on the plants. This could be amongst the problems with so-called ‘Golden Rice’, which is to be grown in the Philippines. It will be the first GE plant grown in the fields that will produce additional carotene to improve vitamin A intake via consumption.

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