Aug 192016
 
In the fight for our genes, could we lose what makes us human?

by Ziyaad Bhorat (Open Democracy) There’s more to human beings than biology and physiology—and it shouldn’t be for sale. In the last 70 years we’ve come a long way towards unraveling the building blocks of human life. The human genome has been identified, sequenced, mapped, decoded, and interfered with. We’ve used this knowledge to clone Dolly the sheep, discover breast cancer-causing genes and create stem cells from our own skin. And now we stand on [More]

Aug 162016
 
New biohacking factsheet from Friends of the Earth Australia

An increasing number of people – many with no formal biological training – are genetically engineering common microbes in community labs and kitchens, posing potentially serious risks to the environment and human health and raising serious ethical questions. These individuals regard the living world as suitable for hacking, like the entirely artificial digital world. They also believe that voluntary codes of conduct are sufficient to regulate their activities, despite the fact that digital subcultures create [More]

Aug 082016
 
Cashing in on Cellulosic Ethanol: Subsidy Loophole Set to Rescue Corn Biofuel Profits

by Almuth Ernsting (Independent Science News) Subsidies intended for next-generation cellulosic ethanol production are to be applied to a trivial improvement to corn ethanol refining technologies. Since cellulosic ethanol qualifies for much higher subsidies, this will significantly increase corn refinery profits and boost the demand for corn but will do nothing to combat climate change or promote energy independence. This is all thanks to an EPA policy to boost the previously (almost) non-existing cellulosic biofuel [More]

Aug 032016
 
The GMO Debate: One Student’s Experience of Pro-GMO Propaganda at Cornell University

Robert Schooler (Independent Science News) My name is Robert, and I am a Cornell University undergraduate student. However, I’m not sure if I want to be one any more. Allow me to explain. Cornell, as an institution, appears to be complicit in a shocking amount of ecologically destructive, academically unethical, and scientifically deceitful behavior. Perhaps the most potent example is Cornell’s deep ties to industrial GMO agriculture, and the affiliated corporations such as Monsanto. I’d [More]

Jul 272016
 
When it Comes to GMOs, the Devil is in the Details

by Paul Koberstein (Earth Island Journal) Unresolved safety questions about gene-editing technologies underscore need for caution While expressing support for the watered-down GMO labeling bill, which was passed by Congress last week and is now awaiting President Obama’s signature, White House spokeswoman Katie Hill told Bloomberg News: “While there is broad consensus that foods from genetically engineered crops are safe, (emphasis added) we appreciate the bipartisan effort to address consumers’ interest in knowing more about [More]

Jul 192016
 
Do CRISPR enthusiasts have their head in the sand about the safety of gene editing?

By Sharon Begley (STAT) WASHINGTON — At scientific meetings on genome-editing, you’d expect researchers to show pretty slides of the ribbony 3-D structure of the CRISPR-Cas9 molecules neatly snipping out disease-causing genes in order to, everyone hopes, cure illnesses from cancer to muscular dystrophy. Less expected: slides of someone kneeling on a beach with his head in the sand. Yet that is what Dr. J. Keith Joung of Massachusetts General Hospital showed at the American Society of [More]

Jul 192016
 
Why Kickstarter’s Glowing Plant Left Backers in the Dark

by Antonio Regalado (MIT Technology Review) In any discussion of biohacking, Exhibit A is likely to be the “glowing plant,” the wildly successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign that raised $484,013 to create bioluminescent plants visible at night. Just one problem, though. There is still no glowing plant. The Glowing Plant project, since renamed Taxa Biotechnologies, has not made any plants able to emit light unassisted. The seeds it promised to its backers are already two years [More]

Jul 122016
 
Don’t Eat the Yellow Rice: The Danger of Deploying Vitamin A Golden Rice

by  Ted Greiner, PhD (Independent Science News) What better way to discredit your critics than to rope in 107 naive Nobel Prize winners (all without relevant expertise) to criticize your opposition? But such tactics are not new. Long ago, the GMO industry spent well over $50 million to promote “Golden Rice” as the solution to vitamin A deficiency in low income countries. They did so well before the technology was completely worked out, let alone [More]

Jul 062016
 
107 Nobel Laureate Attack on Greenpeace Traced Back to Biotech PR Operators

by Jonathan Latham, PhD (Independent Science News) Greenpeace was denied entrance yesterday (June 30) to a National Press Club Event in Washington, DC of 107 Nobel Laureates. The event was ostensibly organised by a scientific group calling itself Support Precision Agriculture to publicise a letter signed by 107 Nobel Laureates demanding that Greenpeace cease its opposition to “golden rice” and GMO technology in general. Greenpeace was attempting to attend the event. However, senior research specialist [More]

Jul 012016
 
Webinar: Outsmarting Nature?

Movements & Emerging Technologies Webinars present: Outsmarting Nature? A webinar on Synthetic Biology for Crops and Agriculture What’s the role of synthetic biology in our food system and how does it relate to “climate-smart” agriculture? What are the costs and risks? Host: Tom Philpott Food & Agriculture Journalist with Mother Jones Expert: Pat Mooney Executive Director ETC Group Commentators: Theresa Anderson Policy Officer, Climate & Resilience International, ActionAid. Ramona Duminicioi Eco-Ruralis Romania, La Via Campesina [More]