Testbiotech warns against hype around genetic engineering technology
7 October 2020 / The inventors of the CRISPR/Cas “gene-scissor” technology have been awarded the Nobel Prize. Christoph Then from Testbiotech comments as follows: “This is a Nobel Prize that could potentially open up ‘Pandora’s Box’. The future of our earth now depends substantially on whether we will be able to set clear and strict limits to this new genetic engineering technology. We must protect human, plant and animal genomes from becoming an object of technological hubris and financial gain.”
Questionable Statement of Leopoldina and DFG on New GE
30 September 2020 / In a letter to the president of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Prof. Dr. Gerald Haug, Testbiotech has raised some serious questions in relation to a virtual conference planned by Leopoldina and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The organisers plan to present a ‘Statement’ on new genetic engineering techniques (New GE, also called genome editing) and plant breeding during the conference.
Publication involving German national institution raises several questions
17 September 2020 / A new publication shows that experiments using new genetic engineering techniques were conducted in Germany on cattle. Using a newer version of the so-called CRISPR/Cas gene scissors, the aim of the experiments was to produce hornless dairy cows. To achieve this, cells were taken from the skin of a breeding bull. These cells were subsequently genetically engineered. Afterwards, in an approach similar to that used in cloning ‘Dolly the sheep’, the nuclei from the cells were transferred into ova (egg cells).
Oilseed rape produced by Cibus can be tracked and traced
11 September 2020 / A recent publication has shown that a method of identifying oilseed rape plants produced by the US company, Cibus, can be used to distinguish it from other oilseed varieties. Until now, it was often assumed that this was not possible. The Cibus oilseed rape is resistant to the same herbicide as an oilseed rape produced by BASF. While BASF maintains that their plants are derived from conventional ‘random mutagenesis’, Cibus conducted experiments with new GE techniques.