News

2019-01-31 |

After years of deadlock and political nightmares, are we finally ready to change the discussion on GMOs?

What care ethics can bring to the conversation

Today, the European Parliament backed four objections against the authorisation for import of new GM plants into the EU (two maize, one oil seed rape and a cotton), bringing the total number of such objections to 31 in just over three years. None of these 31 GMOs opposed by the European Parliament received a political backing from Member states. Nevertheless, the European Commission decided to override this opposition and to authorize 24 of them. These GM plants are mainly imported from North and South America and are used as animal feed.

In this article, we could discuss the characteristics of these four new GMOs and explain, for example, how some are tolerant to glufosinate, a dangerous herbicide, toxic for reproduction, and banned in the EU - but this would only be a repetition of so many articles that we have published over these last 3 years.

Why and how did we end up in this political stand-off? How did we come to such a deep misunderstanding between a majority of EU citizens, who are opposed to this technology in their food and fields, and the agro-chemical industry seemingly usually supported by the EU Commission?

2019-01-29 |

Rigging the Science of GMO Ecotoxicity: Evidence of GMO Bt Crop Safety Manipulation

Researchers who work on GMO crops are developing special “artificial diet systems”. The stated purpose of these new diets is to standardise the testing of the Cry toxins, often used in GMO crops, for their effects on non-target species. But a paper published last month in the journal Toxins implies a very different interpretation of their purpose. The new diets contain hidden ingredients that can mask Cry toxicity and allow them to pass undetected through toxicity tests on beneficial species like lacewings (Hilbeck et al., 2018). Thus the new diets will benefit GMO crop developers by letting new ones come to market quicker and more reliably. Tests conducted with the new diets are even being used to cast doubt on previous findings of ecotoxicological harm.

GMO Cry toxins
Cry toxins are a family of highly active protein toxins originally isolated from the gut pathogenic bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Latham et al., 2017). They confer insect-resistance and up to six distinct ones are added to GMO corn, cotton, and other crops (Hilbeck and Otto, 2015).

2019-01-24 |

Deceptive reporting of GMO90+ EU-funded feeding study on GM maize

GMO90+ study is falsely claimed to show the GM diets had no adverse effects and to refute the Séralini long-term study on GM maize and Roundup

An EU taxpayer-funded rat feeding study on two GM maize varieties found significant differences in the rats that ate the GM diets. These differences could indicate adverse health impacts, but the authors dismissed them as not biologically relevant, without proper scientific justification.

In fact the relevance of the changes is unknown because the study was too short to measure long-term effects, which can take one to two years to show up, and because it was confined to one generation of rats.

The GMO90+ study tested two types of GM maize, NK603 and MON810, over a 6-month period. It was published in December 2018 in the journal Toxicological Sciences under the self-explanatory title, "The GMO90+ project: lack of evidence for biologically significant effects of genetically modified maize based-diets on Wistar rats after 6-months feeding comparative trial". The authors reported no adverse health effects that could be attributed to the GM diets tested.

2019-01-22 |

We are fed up: Protests call for climate smart food as ministers launch UN digital council

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Berlin on Saturday (19 January) to put pressure on political leaders to promote climate smart agriculture, higher animal welfare standards and farming practices that promote biodiversity.

2019-01-22 |

Application sent to Defra to conduct GM wheat trials

Researchers have applied to Defra for consent to conduct field trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat and gene-edited Brassica.
The two small-scale field trials are planned to take place at the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park between April and September in each year from 2019 to 2022.
The wheat trial follows research at the John Innes Centre that identified a gene, TaVIT2 which encodes for an iron transporter in wheat.
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In the same application to Defra, researchers have requested consent to trial Brassica oleracea plants, modified using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology.

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