Pattern of changes in genome do not correspond to natural variations
26 June 2017 / Today in Berlin, experts are to meet in a conference organised by the German Ministry of Agriculture to discuss new methods of genetic engineering. One example of an organism created by these methods are mushrooms that have a delayed natural process of browning after being cut, and also have prolonged shelf-life. According to information issued by Pennsylvania State University where the mushrooms were developed, no additional genes were inserted and 'only' several short sequences removed from their DNA.
Testbiotech demands substantial improvements
19 June 2017 / Next Wednesday, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will make a decision on its new guidance for securing its independence. Testbiotech is demanding substantial improvements: EFSA should prioritise more independence specifically in regard to curbing the influence of the agrifood industries. In this respect, the EFSA position should be to give preference to the interests of the general public and, more particularly, the protection of health and the environment.
EU Commission apparently never seriously considered prohibiting the herbicide
24 May 2017 / The EU Commission has announced that it is planning to extend authorisation for glyphosate for a further ten years. The decision is based on the latest evaluation published by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in March 2017, declaring glyphosate to be safe. However, it appears that banning the herbicide was never seriously considered. In fact, the EU Commission approved 14 new import authorisations for genetically engineered plants resistant to herbicides even while official discussions on the evaluation of glyphosate were still in progress.
The patent that paved the way for patents on mammals
19 May 2017 / In May 1992, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted the first patent on a mammal, the so-called “oncomouse” (EP0169672) patent. The mice were deliberately genetically engineered to be highly susceptible developing cancer within their lifespan. The patent was applied for by Harvard University in cooperation with the US company, DuPont. Many oppositions were filed against the patent. As a consequence, it was narrowed down but not revoked.