LABB News Archive

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This archive includes some of the more significant news items which have previously appeared on the What's New page. These web-links are not regularly updated now and may well be out of date, so if you find a later link, please let us know. Some items (particularly those marked +) may be described in our Learning Links or Hot Topics pages.
Earlier Archives:   2016-17     2014-15     2012-13     2010-11     2008-9     2006-7     2003-5

10/1/18  + After the UK Environment Secretary spoke in favour of gene editing, a National Farmers Union advisor has warned that GM animal meat is not acceptable to consumers. (See Hot Topics: New Techniques and Cloning & GM of Animals)
24/1/18  + A public statement on the new genetic engineering techniques, by the Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice, is criticised as "likely to lead to considerable legal uncertainty." The international organic federation IFOAM recently called for these new techniques to be regulated as GM. (See also 28/9/17 and Hot Topic: New Techniques)
24/1/18  + Chinese scientists have created cloned macaque monkeys - the first time primates have been successfully cloned and survived. From an initial 109 cloned embryos, two live monkeys were born. (See also Hot Topic: Cloning & GM of Animals)
6/2/18  A report is published by members of a US House of Representatives Committee, describing industry-led attacks on IARC, the UN cancer agency that classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic." Also the plenary of the European Parliament backs setting up a special committee to find out whether the maker of glyphosate tried to influence independent scientific research. (See also 15/11/17, 12/12/17)
7/2/18  + Scientists show how one of the new gene editing techniques seen as very accurate, CRISPR-Cas9 also cuts other DNA sequences apart from the intended target. (See also 24/1/18, 10/8/17)
20/2/18  Rothamsted Research applies for permission to plant highly experimental GM false flax (camelina sativa) - incorporating 26 'synthetic' gene fragments. GM Freeze is seeking funds for its campaign against this three year field trial in Hertfordshire, and is to lodge a formal objection. Members of the public can also submit an objection. (See also 18/4/16)
23/2/18  A US court is to hear a request from Monsanto to gain access to internal communications of the campaign group Avaaz, that mention Monsanto or glyphosate. (See also 20/1/14)
1/3/18  The National newspaper publishes a letter from over 20 organisations and 800 people, urging MSPs to oppose the UK Government's Bill on post-Brexit trade. Scottish Minister Michael Russell has already recommended that the Scottish Government reject the Trade Bill, that could permit a lowering of food standards, and the growing of GM crops. (See also 6/8/17)
9/3/18  + GM Freeze launches two public campaigns to safeguard farms and food as the UK prepares to leave the European Union: "Safeguard our farms" and "Don't Hide What's Inside".
21/3/18  The European Commission approves the merger of Bayer and Monsanto, that will create the world's largest agribusiness company. (See also 23/2/18, 22/7/16, 8/3/10, 2/3/09)
21/3/18  Leaked document reveals that a secret CETA meeting (EU-Canada trade agreement) is to discuss how to weaken rules on pesticides and food quality standards.(See also 15/2/17)
26/3/18  The European Court of Justice has ruled that ISDS tribunals are incompatible with EU law. ISDS, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system, allows corporations to sue governments under international trading rules. (See also TTIP, 5/10/15)
5/4/18  + High-fibre, gene-edited wheat has been cleared for sale in the US, circumventing the usual regulations for GM crops. This follows a decision by the Department of Agriculture not to regulate "new GM" products. (See also Hot Topic: New Techniques)
29/4/18  + Scottish First Minister explains the impact on devolved policy areas caused by the EU Withdrawal Bill - a.k.a. the UK Government's "power grab". Later, the chair of Food Standards Scotland warns that any new food standards and labelling could badly affect Scotland. (See also 1/3/18)
16/5/18  + Study shows glyphosate*-based herbicide adversely affected rats' health, even at officially safe dose. (*glyphosate is ...) (See also Archive 9/1/17, 25/8/15, 7/11/12)
18/6/18  Japan and South Korea have suspended imports of wheat from Canada, following discovery of unapproved GM wheat in Alberta.
16/7/18  + Scientific study reveals that CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing can cause significant genetic damage, not found by earlier detection methods. (See also 7/2/18, and Hot Topic: New Techniques)
25/7/18  + European Court of Justice confirms products of gene editing and other 'new' GM techniques must be regulated the same as existing GM plants. (See also 24/1/18, and Hot Topic: New Techniques) Subsequently two groups urge the Environment Secretary to halt the UK field trial of GM camelina sativa (see 20/2/18), since plants created by gene editing did not undergo the correct procedure.
1/8/18  In an experiment in Scotland, feed made from GM camelina plants is being given to farmed salmon. The expectation is that extra fish oils will be absorbed by the salmon, to counteract an increasing deficiency in feed. (See also 18/4/16)
10/8/18  A San Francisco court orders Monsanto to pay $289 million compensation to a man who attributes his terminal cancer to using glyphosate* weedkillers. (*glyphosate is ...) Details of the disturbing findings and wider ramifications are available, with thousands of similar lawsuits pending. (See also 6/2/18, 23/2/18)
7/9/18  The citizen action group Avaaz succeeds in blocking the subpoena from Monsanto, that would have forced them to provide details of their campaign against glyphosate. (See 23/2/18)
12/9/18  + Two NGOs publish a new report: "Gene-edited organisms in agriculture: Risks and unexpected consequences". (See also Hot Topic: Gene Editing)
24/9/18  + Latest research shows how gene drive destroyed an entire population of mosquitoes in the laboratory. Dr Steinbrecher, a molecular geneticist, explains this significant breakthrough and why the method used is dangerous. (See also Hot Topic: Gene Drive)
2/10/18  + "Don't Hide What's Inside" petition launched, calling on UK Government Ministers to retain and enforce the requirement to label food containing GM ingredients, after Brexit. (See also 9/3/18)
22/10/18  A San Francisco judge reduces to $78 million the compensation Monsanto must pay to a man who attributes his terminal cancer to using glyphosate* weedkillers. (*glyphosate is ...) (See 10/8/18)
22/10/18  A former member of the GMO panel of EFSA has said new research backs up his earlier warning that Bt toxins can be allergenic, and accused EFSA of ignoring this issue. (See also Archive 9/11/15, 24/11/16)
22/11/18  + A statement by advisors to the European Commission, that EU law should be revised to facilitate gene editing techniques, is criticised as unscientific and favouring industry. The European Court of Justice recently ruled these methods must be regulated as GM. (See 25/7/18)
29/11/18  + The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity calls on governments to tighten controls on gene drives: to ensure risk assessments are carried out, risk management measures are in place, and indigenous peoples' rights have been considered. (See also 24/9/18 and Hot Topic: Gene Drive)
3/1/19  + At the Oxford Farming Conference, UK environment minister Michael Gove outlines his enthusiasm for gene editing and synthetic biology, while omitting any details of their problems. Gove had suggested earlier that gene editing should be supported despite a European Court ruling and other "legitimate concerns". (See 10/1/18, 25/7/18, Hot Topics: Gene Editing and Cloning & GM of Animals)
6/2/19  French and German farmers dig up fields containing traces of a GM rapeseed variety unauthorised for cultivation in Europe.
10/2/19  Scientific study reveals that exposure to glyphosate*-based herbicides is associated with an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. (*glyphosate is ...)  (See also 22/10/18)
5/3/19  + A scientific study concludes that products of new GM techniques (nGM), such as gene editing, can not be assumed to be safe, and should be regulated accordingly. (See also 22/11/18, 3/1/19, Hot Topic: Gene Editing)
13/5/19  + GM Watch has scrutinised a recent expert report, and concludes that products of gene editing will in fact be identifiable and traceable, particularly when regulated correctly. (See also 5/3/19)
20/5/19  + A report by international scientists concludes that gene drive technology "as it stands, is not fit for application" and "Existing biosafety rules ... are deficient and not fully equipped to manage the unique risks". Report summary here. (See also 29/11/18)
11/6/19  + US President Donald Trump issues an executive order that includes the imperative to "increase international acceptance" and "remove unjustified trade barriers" for GMOs. This implies a US push to de-regulate gene-edited crops in the EU/UK. (See also 5/3/19)
28/6/19  + The independence of the EFSA gene drive risks group is called into question, with several members said to have conflicts of interest. (See also 20/5/19, Hot Topic: Gene Drive)
19/7/19  + Previously unseen official documents show the European Commission has failed to follow EU law and develop testing methods for new gene-edited GM foods. (See also 13/5/19)
24/7/19  The new prime minister Boris Johnson pledges to "liberate" the UK bioscience sector from "anti-GM" rules - evoking immediate criticism from Soil Association and GM Watch. (See also 2/10/18, 3/1/19)
6/8/19  + US government scientists discover errors in the gene-editing of animals are often overlooked. Cattle genetically engineered not to grow horns were found to have experienced major unintended effects. (See also Hot Topics: Gene Editing and GM of Animals)
14/8/19  + A scientific paper re-examines the impacts of GM maize MON810 on honeybees and earthworms, and concludes the EFSA GMO Panel produced low-quality advice in its original safety assessment. (See also Archive 6/10/16, 24/11/16)
17/9/19  + US Friends of the Earth publishes report 'Genetically engineered animals - From Lab to Factory Farm' showing that the use of gene editing in farm animals poses risks to human health, the environment and animal welfare. The report [10.5 MB] also mentions the use of 'gene drive'. GeneWatch UK has also submitted evidence on 'Genome Editing and Farmed Animals' to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. (See also 6/8/19)
11/1/20  + A new study has found that CRISPR editing can fail to disable a gene as intended. Another recent study also found unintended edits occurred frequently. (See also 6/8/19 and Hot Topics: Gene Editing.)
14/1/20  + Two recent studies show that GM herbicide-tolerant soybeans assessed by regulators are not representative of what actually gets grown, and suggest the EU risk assessment of food and feed from this type of plant is inadequate. (See Hot Topics: GM Food Safety Tests)
28/5/20  An analysis by GMWatch examines the possibility the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (that caused the Covid-19 pandemic) is a human-manipulated virus that escaped from a laboratory - which has been suggested by several scientists. A previous analysis looked at the likelihood of leaks from virus research labs.
8/6/20  + In an open letter to the Environment and Food Minister, two scientists express concern over an attempt to amend the Agriculture Bill in the House of Lords, that would allow gene edited plants and animals to go unregulated. This approach would circumvent full debate in the House of Commons. The scientists warn that unintended mutations caused by gene editing will result in an altered pattern in gene function, with the subsequent risk of unexpected toxicity or allergenicity. (See also 11/6/19, 24/7/19 and Hot Topics: Gene Editing)

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