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Risk assessment standards: Pressure growing on EU Commission and EFSA

EU Parliament has again voted against further market approvals of genetically engineered plants

11 March 2021 / The EU Parliament has again voted with a huge majority against further market approvals for genetically engineered plants. Substantial gaps in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) risk assessment were identified. In earlier votes, EU member states also voted overwhelmingly against market approvals. Consequently, there is growing pressure on the EU Commission for much closer scrutiny of EFSA findings and applications for market approval.

Coronavirus: “intelligent” mutants

Adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 virus to the immune system not purely random

25 February 2021 / Research shows that the emergence of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 are not purely random. Rather, the virus has repair and adaptation mechanisms in its genome that can accelerate the occurrence of particularly dangerous mutations. In the light of these findings, it appears that the most effective strategies to combat the pandemic are those that aim to achieve the lowest possible incidence rates.

Successful opposition to a patent on genetically engineered ‘Parkinson-apes’

Max Planck Society withdraws all claims covering vertebrates

19 February 2021 / Testbiotech has won an important opposition filed at the European Patent Office (EPO). A patent held by the Max Planck Society will now be changed to delete all claims covering genetically engineered vertebrates. In its original form the patent covered many different species from mice to great apes. The animals were to be genetically engineered to develop symptoms of Parkinson disease and for use in experiments.

EFSA: Risk assessment of New GE plants necessary even if no additional genes are inserted

European Food Safety Authority presents new report

18 February 2021 / The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published another report on the risk assessment of plants developed with new genetic engineering (New GE). The report includes plants generated using gene scissor CRISPR/Cas applications where no new additional genes are inserted (so-called SDN-1 applications). The EFSA report shows that detailed risk assessment must be carried out even if no additional genes are inserted. The report is the outcome of a consultation which included Testbiotech.

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