A new scientific paper published in the Environmental Sciences Europe journal gives an overview of the risks associated with genome editing procedures (new genetic engineering) for plants and animals. The risks are not only restricted to a wide range of unintended effects that can be triggered by the process of genome editing. There are also risks associated with the intended biological characteristics generated through genome editing.
The EU authority has published a report in response to the RAGES research project
15 July 2020 / The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) responded to the RAGES research project findings (Risk Assessment of Genetically engineered organisms in the EU and Switzerland) in a recently published report. The EFSA report was compiled at the request of the EU Commission. As expected, EFSA defended its current practice of risk assessment for genetically engineered plants, despite RAGES having highlighted numerous deficiencies.
Patent application covers genetically engineered bacteria and bees
9 July 2020 / US researchers have filed an application for a patent covering genetically engineered bacteria, including the bees that have the microbes in their gut. According to the patent application, the bacteria can produce molecules which interfere with gene regulation across species boundaries. That way the honey bees are ‘indirectly’ genetically engineered. These molecules are, for example, intended to target bee behaviour and thus enhance pollination effectiveness.
The European Patent Office (EPO) has for ethical reasons now declared two patents on genetically engineered chimpanzees to be no longer valid. All claims on genetically engineered animals have to be removed from the patents concerned. The Technical Board of Appeal at the EPO decided in favour of oppositions and appeals filed by a broad coalition of animal welfare and environmental organisations. European patent law prohibits patents on the genetic engineering of animals if it is likely to cause animal suffering.