Issues

Below are posts from across all issue areas covered by SynBioWatch and collaborating organizations.

Nov 212016
 
SynBio, Gene Editing and Other New Stuff: Same Concerns, Supersized

by Mary Lou McDonald (Safe Food Matters) New words like “synthetic biology”, “GMOs 2.0”, “CRISPR”, and “new biology” are being heard.  And new compounds are in our fragrances, flavourings, cosmetics and foods. The new words are for new techniques of genetic engineering. What are the techniques and their products, and should we be concerned? New Techniques­ The old techniques of genetic engineering (GMOs 1.0) dealt with organisms, and inserted genes by either blasting them into [More]

Oct 202016
 
Gene Editing and Seed Stealing

by Chee Yoke Ling and Edward Hammond (Project Syndicate) AUSTIN, TEXAS – Four hundred years ago, John Rolfe used tobacco seeds pilfered from the West Indies to develop Virginia’s first profitable export, undermining the tobacco trade of Spain’s Caribbean colonies. More than 200 years later, another Briton, Henry Wickham, took seeds for a rubber-bearing tree from Brazil to Asia – via that great colonialist institution, London’s Royal Botanic Gardens – thereby setting the stage for [More]

Oct 102016
 
A Collision Course with Unintended Consequences

by Melody Meyer (Organic Matters) In an early morning jaunt to Sacramento last week my car was rear ended.  I serve on the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (who by the way are looking for new members), and was on my way to attend a subcommittee meeting when boom—a fine young man rammed me in the rear. As I recuperate from the trauma, I wax philosophical and wonder why this happened and what the long [More]

Sep 292016
 
GMO 2.0 Foods Coming Your Way: Will They Be Labeled?

by Stacy Malkan (HuffPost) Silenced genes, edited genes, algae engineered to produce compounds that taste like food: new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) made with these experimental techniques are making their way to your dinner plate. It’s the next wave of genetic engineering, or GMOs 2.0. Will we know if they’re in our food? The new GMO labeling law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama has been widely panned by consumer groups because it [More]

Sep 222016
 
GMOs 2.0: A New Generation Of Fake Food And Fake Promises

by Jim Thomas (HuffPost) Would you put these items on your shopping list? Gene-silenced apples that don’t rot; synthetic vanilla made with genetically engineered yeast; canola, DNA edited to resist pesticides. These are just a few of the new genetically engineered products already making their way to a store near you. We call them GMOs 2.0 — and they may even be misleadingly labeled as “natural.” How will you know if you’re eating synthetic GMO [More]

Sep 162016
 
The Monsanto–Bayer tie-up is just one of seven; Mega-Mergers and Big Data Domination Threaten Seeds, Food Security

by ETC Group Policymakers could still block the agribiz mergers; peasants and farmers will continue the fight for seeds and rights Wednesday’s confirmation that Monsanto and Bayer have agreed to a $66 billion merger is just the latest of four M&A announcements, but at least three more game-changing mergers are in play (and flying under the radar).  The acquisition activity is no longer just about seeds and pesticides but about global control of agricultural inputs [More]

Sep 092016
 
Watch: Gene Drives out of Hawaii Public Meeting

Watch the Livestream of Wednesday’s public meeting on Gene Drives in Hawaii, part of the series of events that took place to coincide with the ICUN conference. Hosted by Hawaii SEED. Host: Claire Cummings, journalist and author Speakers: Walter Ritte – Native Hawaiin activist, Hokolei Lindsey – Native Hawaiin legal scholar, Dana Perls – Friends of the Earth, and Jim Thomas – ETC Group.

Sep 012016
 
Gene Drives: Solution or Problem? Sacred or Synthetic?

Events during IUCN World Conservation Congress September 1-10, 2016 in Oahu, Hawai’i Gene drives are a new biotechnology development that allows humans the unprecedented capability to profoundly alter or even drive to extinction entire populations or even whole species of organisms. Are they a valued tool for conservation or are they more likely to fail, make matters worse, fall into the hands of those who seek profit-making at all cost, or be used for military [More]

Aug 292016
 
Reckless Driving: Gene drives and the end of nature

This is a new briefing from the Civil Society Working Group on Gene Drives which includes Biofuelwatch, Econexus, ETC Group, Friends of the Earth US, Hawai’i SEED and Navdanya. It can be downloaded as a pdf here (en español). Imagine that by releasing a single fly into the wild you could genetically alter all the flies on the planet—causing them all to turn yellow, carry a toxin, or go extinct. This is the terrifyingly powerful [More]

Aug 292016
 
Biohacking ban needed

by Louise Sales Last week US biohacker Ellen Jorgensen toured Australia encouraging members of the public to genetically modify microbes prompting the GM Free Australia Alliance to call for a ban on the genetic engineering of microbes outside contained and certified laboratory facilities. Biohacking generally means genetically modifying a bacteria, yeast, plant or animal to change its function or physical characteristics. Whilst such tinkering currently appears to be legal in Australia, the development of new [More]