‘Benefits’ of genetically engineered plants completely reversed
3 June 2022 / In a recent publication, scientists from Argentina and Brazil show how the spread of black armyworm (Spodoptera cosmioides) is being promoted by the cultivation of transgenic soybean plants. Black armyworm are the larvae of a butterfly and considered to be a pest insect. Transgenic “Intacta” soybeans, which were originally produced by Monsanto, are resistant to glyphosate and produce an insecticidal protein. The combination of these traits contributes to the spread of the larvae which can then cause substantial damage in the fields.
Study sheds new light on the risks of New GE
25 May 2022 / A recent study has highlighted how changes in single genes can impact food webs and ecosystems. In the study, the researchers separated out and planted different genetic variants (alleles) of the genetic model organism Arabidopsis thaliana - which would all exist together in natural populations. The outcome was surprising: even a reduction in the diversity of a single gene caused species interacting with the plants to become extinct. The researchers therefore refer to such genes as ‘keystone genes’.
Biased questions indicate expected outcome
6 May 2022 / The EU Commission has started a consultation on the future regulation of New GE (new genomic techniques). However, it seems that the outcome has already been more or less decided: the Commission is planning to exempt many genetically engineered plants from a mandatory approval process through ‘deregulation’. This is apparent from the way in which many of the questions are formulated, and indicates that the aim of any future legislation will be to accelerate the introduction of the plants onto the market.
New letter reveals impact of trade interests and CETA
14 April 2022 / In a letter written in April 2022, the EU Commission states that CRISPR/Cas applications do not create any new or specific risks due to unintended effects. This letter came in response to a joint letter sent by the German Union of Peasant Farmers (AbL) and Testbiotech. In their letter, Testbiotech and the AbL argued that the statement made by the Commission is not based on scientific facts and is largely driven by trade interests, such as those included in the CETA free trade agreement (The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) between the EU and Canada.