The expert group that will be filing a report with recommendations to the UN Convention on Biodiversity met in early June, and examined a variety of emerging uses of synthetic biology. Jim Thomas was there representing ETC.
Increasingly, syn bio is moving out of the lab, and companies are conducting experiments and even genetic engineering in the wild – for example, by using viruses or gene drives to change genetic structures in nature.
The following is an excerpt from ETC Group's May 2019 newsletter. To receive regular updates, sign up (see right sidebar)!
As converging global crises – biodiversity, climate, plastic – intensify, governments and corporations are scrambling to create new institutions and investors are lining up to finance a new round of buzzword-driven techno-fixes. Talk of “rapid technological change”, “exponential technologies”, “frontier technologies” and “the fourth industrial revolution” can be heard in hallways of a variety of governments, institutions and UN bodies.
The global meat industry is estimated to be worth over $1 trillion USD in 2019, and is projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2022. The dairy industry is estimated at $442 billion. Industrially processed meat and dairy are notorious for the inhumane conditions of their livestock, and are a climate menace.
Prepared by ETC Group with additional research by Dr Elisabeth Abergel, for the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
Making sense of emerging trends in science and technology is a core part of what ETC Group does. We’re impatient to grasp the implications of new realities that are emerging around us, whether they relate to artificial intelligence, social engineering, extreme forms of digital genetic modification, corporate concentration, surveillance, authoritarianism or geoengineering.
Target Malaria, a research consortium that aims to eradicate malaria-carrying species of mosquitoes using new genetic modification tools, does not have proper consent from communities for its experiment. That is the main message of a new short film that is being released this week.
“A Question of Consent: Exterminator Mosquitoes in Burkina Faso” documents conversations with residents of the areas where Target Malaria is conducting tests, as well as opposition from civil society groups in the region.