Corporate Wheeling & Dealing

Feb 052016
 
Sino-Genta?

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 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 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 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]

Jan 152015
 
Bad-Boy Scientism

by Pete Shanks (Originally appeared on HuffPo.) Austen Heinz of Cambrian Genomics has been trolling hard lately, as blogger Josh Cunningham notes. That is, he’s been spouting provocative opinions to get attention. And it seems to be working, from his point of view. Not only was Heinz involved in the vagina bio-hack nonsense, but he told the Wall Street Journal last June, “I can’t believe that after 10 or 20 years, people will not design their children digitally.” And he doubled down in [More]

Oct 152014
 
Northern “Syn Bio Club” Blasted for Impeding UN Talks Progress

Synthetic Biology States vs. the Rest of the World PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA–Tensions are rising at UN talks concerning oversight of synthetic biology technology, sometimes called extreme genetic engineering. A small club of wealthy nations with powerful biotech industries, (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and the European Union) have been clashing with developing countries from Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean over the need for international governance frameworks for synthetic biology. The [More]

Jul 172014
 

[This article was originally published in The Ecologist.] Following The Ecologist’s revelation about Ecover’s use of synthetic biology to make laundry detergent, the company has put its trials on hold, writes Jim Thomas. But to regain public trust, the company must re-engage honestly with its critics, and its customers. A month ago, The Ecologist revealed that ‘eco-friendly’ soap maker Ecover was using an algae oil produced using synthetic biology (Syn Bio), sometimes called ‘extreme genetic engineering’. And now tens [More]

Jul 082014
 
What-Syn-a-Name?

This article originally appeared in the Guardian. Synthetic biology is attracting attention from both scientists and regulators. But there is little agreement on what it is. Can we find a road out of synthetic biology’s definitional quagmire? by Jim Thomas He was looking quite lost. An eminent scientist and UN delegate was stumbling over the meaning of a term that has been the subject of recent international debates: “synthetic biology.” Often called “extreme genetic engineering,” [More]

Jun 162014
 

(Originally published by The Ecologist) by Jim Thomas Disappointment, surprise, disbelief. I think I felt a bit of all of these when I discovered that ‘natural’ soap-maker Ecover had become the first company in the world to reveal its use of synthetic biology in the manufacture of consumer products. The Belgian multinational revealed in April that it has decided to use an algal oil. What it didn’t explain was that the algae oil was produced [More]

May 302014
 
Companies Quietly Apply Biofuel Tools to Household Products

This article originally appeared in the New York Times. By STEPHANIE STROM MAY 30, 2014 Consumer products containing ingredients made using an advanced form of engineering known as synthetic biology are beginning to show up more often on grocery and department store shelves. A liquid laundry detergent made by Ecover, a Belgian company that makes “green” household products including the Method line, contains an oil produced by algae whose genetic code was altered using synthetic [More]