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.
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.
Research shows risk of invasive spread in centre of biodiversity
11 February 2021/ It is known that genetically engineered (GE) cotton is spreading within populations of wild cotton species in Mexico. Resulting offspring are often transgenic and, consequently, produce insecticides or are resistant to the herbicide, glyphosate. A recently published paper has now shown that there are disturbances in the interactions between the transgenic offspring and their environment. This finding has serious implications for the protection of wild cotton species because Mexico is one of the centres of origin for cotton.
Wide range of associated risks
3 Februar 2021 / Japan granted approval in January for the first ‘CRISPR tomatoes’ to be used in food production. There are plans to distribute the genetically engineered (GE) plants to home gardeners. The tomatoes contain a much higher concentration of a plant compound (GABA) compared to those derived from conventional breeding. This is an example of how it is possible to bring about major changes in the composition of food plants without inserting additional genes. The cultivation and consumption of the tomatoes are, however, associated with a wide range of risks.