Experiments using human embryos end up with loss of whole chromosomes
11 November 2020 / A new publication has described experiments using CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors on human embryos. The aim of the experiments conducted in the US was to correct a mutated DNA sequence that causes a genetic disorder. This disorder can result in blindness (Retinitis pigmentosa). The gene scissors were supposed to cut the faulty gene sequence – and the expectation was that the fault in the genome would then be corrected via cell repair mechanisms. This aim was not accomplished. Instead, either large parts or the whole of chromosome 6, where the gene is located, were lost.
Risk of transgenes spreading into the environment higher than expected
29 October 2020 / Even though the insecticidal genetically engineered (GE) maize MON810 is controversial in Europe, it has been grown in Spain for about twenty years. However, the cultivation of the transgenic plants is now facing new problems: recent research shows that a weedy plant, teosinte, has changed its biological characteristics in ways that will facilitate further genetic exchange with maize plants. Therefore, the likelihood of hybridisation with the GE maize has strongly increased. As a result, a new super-weed might emerge.
New report - frequently asked questions about CRISPR & Co
22 October 2020 / Testbiotech is publishing a new report today on New Genetic Engineering (New GE) that shows why these techniques need to be strictly regulated. New GE - or ‘genome editing’ - opens up new possibilities which go way beyond conventional breeding and previous methods of genetic engineering. One of the most important tools in this scenario are CRISPR/Cas gene scissors (nuclease). In contrast to chemical or physical mutagens used in conventional breeding, tools such as CRISPR/Cas can directly interact with biological mechanisms in the cells.
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.”