Feb 052016

by ETC Group And soon there will be three. Joy of six heads towards a “ménage à trois” For more background, see ETC Group’s recent report: Breaking Bad: Big Ag Mega-Mergers in Play [i] For a decade, six multinationals have controlled 75% of the world’s high-tech seeds and pesticides businesses. Late last year, Dow and DuPont agreed to merge and now state-owned ChemChina is buying Syngenta for $43 billion. This means that Monsanto needs a merger to stay in the game. Or, is the game about to be [More]

Feb 032016
Beware False Promises: Algal Oils and Other Products of Synthetic Biology Aren’t About to Save the Orangutan…. But Carry Serious New Risks

Joint briefing by Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth United States: Beware False Promises: Algal Oils and Other Products of Synthetic Biology Aren’t About to Save the Orangutan…. But Carry Serious New Risk “Algal oil” and “oily yeast” have been aggressively promoted as promising alternatives to palm oil and potential saviours of orangutans. At the forefront of this promotion is the California-based biotech company Solazyme. They make no mention of synthetic biology—which is an extreme [More]

Feb 022016
New Report: Biotech industry lobby intent on ransack of EU GMO rules

Reposted from Corporate Europe Observatory. Food safety, the environment, and consumer choice are at stake, as biotech industry lobbyists pressure decision makers to deregulate a new generation of genetic engineering techniques ahead of a crucial European Commission decision in February. “Biotech lobby’s push for new GMOs to escape regulation”, a new report by Corporate Europe Observatory, shows how industry has been pushing for the deregulation of new GM techniques despite widespread consumer rejection of GMOs [More]

Feb 022016
Brussels biotech lobby's last push for 'GM 2.0' technologies to escape regulation

by Nina Holland (The Ecologist) Biotech corporations have invested billions in a range of new ‘GM 2.0′ technologies designed to redesign the world’s germplasm and create new generations of super-GMOs, writes Nina Holland. And powerful investors have no intention of letting tedious EU regulations get in the way of the profits they are now poised to reap – no matter what the laws actually say. The European Commission is close to issuing a crucial decision [More]

Jan 262016
ETC’s Irreverent Review of 2015… and (possibly) Irrelevant Preview of 2016

Download the full review here, for ETC’s SynBio updates and industry developments. The Year that Ended Dangerously If El Niño weren’t enough, the extraordinary winds that struck Yemen and Mexico’s Pacific Coast were matched by record-breaking forest fires in the Indonesian archipelago, droughts, torrential rains and floods from Australia to the British Isles and heat-waves on the east coast of North America (in winter). Much of this was El Niño, of course, but some of it was climate change – and all [More]

Jan 212016
New GM food could end up on your plate untested and unlabelled

by franziska achterberg (Greenpeace EU Unit) After two decades of commercial use, Europeans still can’t stomach genetically modified (GM) food. But their producers may have found a way to bypass public opposition and safety regulation. A new range of GM plants and animals could soon end up on the dinner table without any testing or labelling, and without anybody knowing. Agrochemical multinationals believe EU laws on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are too onerous. This is why [More]

Jan 202016

Option 2 This map is more limited in terms of map styles, but its not a googlemap so maybe looks snazzier? It allows you to highlight whole countries, and add markers. So I’ve put in info for Haiti (very hard to see unless you zoom in), Iran and Malaysia. Case studies could be highlighted by country, and markers could indicate companies for example The pop-up boxes are harder to read since you have to hover [More]

Jan 152016
GM 2.0? 'Gene-editing' produces GMOs that must be regulated as GMOs

This is an important article about the battle to ensure that gene-editing is treated under GM regulations in the EU. It’s relevant to synbio as many of the new “breeding techniques” under consideration by the EU – such as the genome editing described in the article below – are increasingly seen as common practices within the synthetic biology field, and contribute towards the establishment of a broader bioeconomy. by Janet Cotter & Ricarda Steinbrecher (Ecologist) [More]

Dec 282015
Re-engineering life? The dangers of 'next generation' biofuels

by Almuth Ernsting, Ecologist The biofuels of the future will depend on microbes, writes Almuth Ernsting: algae to produce the biomass, and fungi or bacteria to break cellulose down into useful molecules. Just one problem: wild strains aren’t up to the job. So scientists are trying to genetically engineer supercharged ‘synthetic biology’ variants – which will inevitably enter the environment. What could possibly go wrong? In the UK, the use of genetically engineered (GE) microbes [More]

Jun 302015
"Jurassic World" and the Dinosaurs at the USDA

by Rachel Smolker, Truthout The new movie Jurassic World offers more than a few lessons relevant to the state of our world. There is the obvious point about scientists bringing back to life genetically engineered dinosaurs with no real concern for the havoc they may wreak. Then there is the very clear link to real-world “de-extinction” scientists who seriously aim to bring back mastodons and passenger pigeons, while others are finding ever more potent means [More]