Need for a case-specific risk assessment of plants obtained from new genetic engineering
26 October 2021 / A new study published in the scientific journal, Plants, presents the specific risks of new genetic engineering techniques and gives an overview of possible gene scissor applications. Inducing supposedly small alterations in the genome of crop plants can nevertheless generate complex changes. The results of the study highlight the need for plants developed using New Genetic Engineering techniques to undergo case-specific risk assessment, taking both the properties of the end product and risks posed by the applied procedures into account.
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.
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.
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.