Testbiotech points to already existing legal flexibility
30 April 2021 / The EU Commission has published a report on new genomic techniques (New GE, genome editing) in plants and animals. They have concluded that the current EU GMO regulation should be reformed. Its fundamental goals are to promote New GE applications in agriculture and to foster international trade, technology and product development. The Commission is also demanding that decisions on market approvals should consider the potential benefits and not only the outcome of risk assessment. Safety for health and environment should nevertheless be guaranteed.
Testbiotech has filed an opposition against a patent on ‘Alzheimer-animals’. The patent (EP3066203) covers rodents and non-human primates, including great apes. The animals are genetically engineered to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The patented process causes severe suffering in the animals while, at the same time, any potential medical benefits are doubtful. The patent was granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2020 to research institutions in France.
The first application for approval of CRISPR/Cas plants is now in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) register. Maize DP915635 is resistant to the herbicide glufosinate and produces an insecticidal toxin found in specific ferns growing on trees. Pioneer (associated with DowDupont/Corteva) has also filed several patent applications for the plants, some of which have already been granted in Europe.
Increased environmental impact of toxic pesticides
10 April 2021 / Expectations that the cultivation of transgenic plants would lower the impact of pesticides on the environment have failed to materialise. This failure was confirmed in a recent study published in the magazine, Science, based on official data from the US. The experts compared volume and toxicity of pesticides applied in fields with genetically engineered (GE) plants to fields with conventional agriculture. The conclusion: in recent years there has been a strong increase in pesticides impacting the environment, with and without transgenic plants.