Greenpeace, activist groups call on tight regulation of new genetic engineering methods

In a joint open letter to the European Commission, eight farmers’, environmental and food safety organisations demand that products derived from new methods of genetic engineering for plants and animals should not escape GM risk assessment and labelling.

Biotech industry and developers of these new genetic engineering techniques have been calling on public authorities to exempt them from GM rules. The undersigned groups argue that such an exception could threaten the environment and our health, and would violate EU law.

The letter, which is signed by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, GeneWatch and others, says: “Any attempt to engineer genomes by invasive methods can cause unexpected and unpredictable effects. For example, “cisgenesis” – a genetic engineering technique that uses genes from the same species – is still genetic engineering and is therefore subject to unexpected and unpredictable effects caused by the genetic engineering process itself, and not by the trait or sequence inserted. New techniques to genetically engineer plants and animals, such as so-called DNA scissors (nucleases) and interventions in gene regulation, raise additional concerns.

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“Most of these techniques are so new that there is not sufficient information to properly assess the risks. Some also allow more radical changes to plant genomes than genetic engineering methods currently used in commercialised products.”

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Read full, original article: Open Letter to Commission: new GMOs should not escape regulation

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