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Articles

Nobel laureates serving Monsanto and Syngenta

By Silvia Ribeiro*

It is not often that so many prominent scientists reveal their ignorance on a topic in such a short space. This was the case for the public letter that a hundred Nobel laureates published on June 30th defending genetically modified organisms (GMOs), particularly the so-called “Golden Rice,” and attacking Greenpeace for its critical stance on these crops. The letter is so full of high-sounding adjectives and epithets, false claims and poor arguments that it seems more like a propaganda tirade from transgenic companies than scientists presenting a position.

A Bad Bet on Synthetic Biology

Cargill's Eversweet is competing with farmers and misleading consumers

Las Vegas seems to be an apt place to launch a risky corporate gamble that could destroy the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers. Earlier this month, the international food conglomerate Cargill chose the city’s famous Strip to introduce what it hopes will be its next blockbuster product: EverSweet, a sweetener made of “the same sweet components in the stevia plant.”
And yet, despite Cargill’s heavy reliance on stevia in its promotional material, EverSweet does not contain a single leaf of the plant. Cargill’s new product is an example of synthetic biology, a form of genetic engineering that uses modified organisms to manufacture compounds that would never be produced naturally. What makes EverSweet taste sweet is not stevia; it is a compound produced by a bioengineered yeast.

Briefings

COP 13 Gene Drives FAQ

On Thursday, December 15, 2016 the Civil Society Working Group on Synthetic Biology circulated a short fact sheet to help clear up four of the most common questions arising about gene drives. 

1.      Are gene drives naturally occurring?

In brief: the engineered gene drives being discussed at COP 13 are NOT naturally occurring elements.

Deere & Co. is becoming ‘Monsanto in a Box’

ETC Group’s Year-End Update on Global Agriculture’s Mega-Mergers

OTTAWA, CANADA – ETC Group today released an end-of-year update on the high-profile mergers announced in the agri-inputs industry in 2016. Arguing that the three announced seed/pesticide mega-mergers will only be decided in 2017 and possibly much later, ETC’s new update, entitled “Software vs. Hardware vs. Nowhere,” shows that it is not only the $97 billion per annum seed and crop chemicals market that is at stake in the three announced mergers.

Geoengineering at COP 13 - Convention on Biological Diversity

Briefing for Government Delegates

Key points:

• CBD Decision X/33, 8 (w) on geoengineering remains valid and should be affirmed and strengthened.

• The potential impacts of geoengineering on biodiversity have been scarcely studied. Studies and policy recommendations on the impacts on biodiversity and associated livelihoods caused by any geoengineering intervention are, and should remain, under the mandate of CBD and its bodies.

• New research papers continue to demonstrate high risks and uncertainties associated with the full range of geoengineering proposals.