News

2018-08-01 |

CFS Sues Trump Administration Over GMO Labeling Delay

Washington, D.C. – Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration for failing to abide by the mandatory deadlines Congress set in the 2016 genetically engineered (GE) food disclosure law. That law required that its regulations be finished by two years after its enactment, or July 29, 2018. Earlier this week Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is assigned to draft and issue the new labeling rules, missed the final rules deadline. So today CFS went to Court, in order to get a mandated schedule for completion and judicial oversight of USDA, to ensure timely completion of the rules.

"Americans have waited for decades for GE foods to be labeled, which Congress knew when it ordered USDA to get this done in a reasonable timeframe," said George Kimbrell, CFS Legal Director. "Trump, Perdue, and their corporate lobbyists may want indefinite delay and keeping Americans in the dark, but the law doesn't permit it."

2018-07-31 |

Repair of double-strand breaks induced by CRISPR–Cas9 leads to large deletions and complex rearrangements

Abstract
CRISPR–Cas9 is poised to become the gene editing tool of choice in clinical contexts. Thus far, exploration of Cas9-induced genetic alterations has been limited to the immediate vicinity of the target site and distal off-target sequences, leading to the conclusion that CRISPR–Cas9 was reasonably specific. Here we report significant on-target mutagenesis, such as large deletions and more complex genomic rearrangements at the targeted sites in mouse embryonic stem cells, mouse hematopoietic progenitors and a human differentiated cell line. Using long-read sequencing and long-range PCR genotyping, we show that DNA breaks introduced by single-guide RNA/Cas9 frequently resolved into deletions extending over many kilobases. Furthermore, lesions distal to the cut site and crossover events were identified. The observed genomic damage in mitotically active cells caused by CRISPR–Cas9 editing may have pathogenic consequences.

2018-07-27 |

Communities Raise Their Voices on Genetic Engineering

Crispr technology may allow scientists to change the environment forever, but working with the affected localities presents a challenge.

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Crispr, which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, isn’t the first new technology to pose such complicated questions. But Crispr offers “the potential to control evolution and change future species,” says biochemist Kevin Esvelt, an assistant professor at the Cambridge, Mass.-based MIT Media Lab, where Mice Against Ticks was born.

Crispr is the immune system of bacteria. Scientists adapted Crispr and the Cas9 enzyme that it produces to serve as a tool to edit DNA in plants, animals and humans. Researchers soon realized that Crispr might be used not only to edit or repair genes of people living with diseases but also to edit embryos, changing the DNA of future generations. It could also be used to create a so-called “gene drive,” spreading engineered genetic changes through populations of wild animals but also altering the environment in unpredictable ways. With so much at stake, Dr. Esvelt says, scientists must not make such decisions by themselves.

2018-07-25 |

Industry shocked by EU Court decision to put gene editing technique under GM law

The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday (25 July) that organisms obtained by mutagenesis plant breeding technique are GMOs and should, in principle, fall under the GMO Directive, in a surprising move that went contrary to the Advocate-General’s non-binding opinion.

The decision shocked the industry, which described it as a severe blow to innovation in EU agriculture and warned about economic and environmental consequences.

József Máté, Corporate Communications Leader at Corteva Agriscience, described the Court decision as a “bad day” for the EU agri-food sector.
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A ‘victory’

On the contrary, it was warmly welcomed by environmental NGOs, who said the EU shut the door to “new GMOs”. They hailed the Court’s decision and called it a victory for consumers, farmers and the environment.

Nina Holland, a campaigner from the Corporate Europe Observatory, said big agribusiness corporations will continue lobbying in Brussels to escape EU safety rules for the new GMOs.

“But today’s ruling leaves no doubt: Products from gene editing are covered by the existing EU GMO rules,” she said.

Similarly, Bart Staes MEP [Greens/EFA] noted that just because the industry has come up with new ways to modify organisms “does not mean that these techniques should be exempt from existing EU standards on GMOs.”

“Recent scientific studies show that these new techniques might not be as accurate as the industry claims them to be, that’s why it’s essential that they come under the same labelling requirements and impact assessments as existing GMOs,” he added.

2018-07-25 |

ECJ rules in favour of tough regulation for new GM techniques

UK umbrella campaign GM Freeze today welcomed a European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision to ensure proper regulation of controversial new genetic engineering techniques.

Supporting the position taken by environmental campaigners, the judgement states that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). In addition, it states clearly that the only techniques that can escape full GMO regulation are those that already had a history of safe use in 2001.

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