News Releases

Four Steps Forward, One Leap Back on Global Governance of Synthetic Biology

UN Biodiversity Convention grapples with threats posed by extreme biotech industry

CANCUN, MEXICO — This week, 196 countries meeting at the 2016 UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties made progress on the global governance and oversight of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology (syn bio) has become one of the most fiercely debated topics at the Biodiversity Convention, almost 7 years after civil society first brought the need for precaution and regulation of the new set of biotechnologies to this UN body.

UN Convention still says “No” to manipulating the climate

UN Convention on Biological Diversity reaffirms its moratorium on climate-related geoengineering

CANCUN, MEXICO – The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which gathered at its 13th Conference of the Parties (COP 13) in Mexico from December 4-17, decided to reaffirm its landmark moratorium on climate-related geoengineering that it first agreed to in 2010.

The Captain Hook Awards reveal ‘biopirate’ villains and celebrate biodiversity defenders at UN Biodiversity Convention

CANCUN – The Coalition Against Biopiracy (CAB) hosted the 6th Captain Hook Awards ceremony at the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on December 9, 2016. The public action in the main lobby of the Conference “celebrated” five biopirates – corporations, governments, and organizations that play a part to privatize genetic resources from Indigenous Peoples and local communities for profit – with an awards ceremony attended by civil society organizations and government delegates.

New Guide IDs GMOs 2.0 in Food and Cosmetics

Consumer and Environmental groups release “Shopper’s Guide to Synthetic Biology”

BALTIMORE, MD ­Consumer and environmental groups today released the Shopper’s Guide to Synthetic Biology to help consumers avoid the new wave of GMOs in food and cosmetics, and find truly natural and sustainable options.

Gene-silenced apples that never look old, synthetic stevia created with genetically engineered yeast — these are just some of the new generation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) making their way into food and consumer products.

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

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 and world food security.  Anti-competition regulators should block these mergers everywhere, and particularly in the emerging markets of the Global South, as the new mega companies will greatly expand their power and outcompete national enterprises.  Fou

30 Environmental Leaders say 'No!' to Gene Drives in Conservation

Genetic “Extinction” Technology Rejected by International Group of Scientists, Conservationists and Environmental Advocates

OAHU, HAWAI'I — As thousands of government representatives and conservationists convene in Oahu this week for the 2016 World Conservation Congress, international conservation and environmental leaders are raising awareness about the potentially dangerous use of gene drives — a controversial new synthetic biology technology intended to deliberately cause targeted species to become extinct.

Stop The Gene Bomb! ETC Group Comment on NAS Report on Gene Drives

First study on gene drive governance avoids the explosive issues: Militarization, Commercialization, Food Security. ETC Group urges that gene drive patents and governance be handed to the United Nations.

Coming in at over 200 pages, today’s National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, 'Gene Drives on the Horizon’ is weighty but disappointing. It fails to properly address three of the most pressing issues raised by the controversial new technology of CRISPR-CAS9 gene drives. Dubbed, the ‘mutagenic chain reaction’ by its inventors, RNA-guided gene drives are a high-leverage synthetic biology technology invented only last year.

Craig Venter Lays an Easter Egg

Six Years in the Making, “Synthia” is Resurrected

Synthetic Biology, according to its proponents, is moving at five times the pace of Moore’s law – basically doubling its capabilities and halving its costs every four months. Except that brash billionaire Craig Venter, often dubbed Bioscience’s Bad Boy, is no Gordon Moore. Venter has just announced that his team has produced Synthia 3.0 – the simplest human-made and self-replicating lifeform ever. Synthia 1.0 was announced – after years of delays – in 2010 and its second coming in this new form has been awaited ever since. Synthia 2.0 slipped by without notice – apparently not much to talk about – but this new version is being hailed by at least some synthetic biology scientists as a breakthrough.

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