Technology assessment
Principles and Approaches Genetic interactions in ecosystems are more dynamic and complex than acknowledged so far. Genetic change and genetic exchange phenomena seem to occur more frequently in nature than in laboratories, and may be regulated by unknown environmental factors. Local environmental conditions and chemical contaminants (pesticides and other xenobiotics), that will undoubtedly vary in concentrations and combinations between different locations are examples of such environmental factors. These may have impacts on the extent of horizontal gene transfer, and on how modified genes are expressed and affect the recipient organisms. Consequently, it is important to establish model systems in the laboratory, which mimic the ecological interactions and complexity of the real world.
Basis for risk assessment and management:
Risk and probability are not the same. Risk can be defined as the probability of an occurrence of an incident or phenomenon, multiplied by the consequences arising therefrom, if it occurs. At this moment we know little about both probability and consequences in relation to putative health and environmental effects of many genetic engineering applications.
Horizontal gene transfer: Horizontal gene transfer signifies a non-sexual transmission of genetic information within or between species. The phenomenon is common in nature, but our knowledge concerning ecological processes promoting such events and barriers prohibiting them is scanty.
Socio-economic considerations: The impact of genetically modified organisms goes beyond ecological and health dimensions. They have profound impact on society, including livelihoods, production systems, trade, culture and ethics.

Gene Drive Organisms: Implications for the Environment and Nature Conservation

A report endorsed by eight European environmental agencies has been published on the implications on the environment and nature conservation of gene drive organisms. […]

Better Risk Assessment Needed for GE Plants That Can Persist and Propagate in the Environment

A new peer reviewed paper addresses specific environmental risks associated with GE plants that can spread and propagate in the environment, leading to next generation effects that could increase risks to biodiversity. […]

Non-GMO Corn Outperforms GM Corn in Several US States

Results of recent field trials of non-GMO corn seed and published research show that non-GMO seed varieties can perform as well as or even better than GM seed. […]

European Risk Assessment Standards Deemed Insufficient to Determine Safety of GMOs

Current standards of risk assessment in the EU and Switzerland are deemed insufficient to determine the safety of GMOs. Instead, the precautionary principle needs to be applied far more consistently and comprehensively. […]

Glyphosate Disrupts Gut Bacteria and Causes Liver and Kidney Damage in Rats

A new study confirms that glyphosate and Roundup at regulatory permitted and presumed safe doses inhibit the shikimic acid pathway in gut bacteria of rats, and also cause liver and kidney damage. […]

High Glyphosate Residues on GM Soybean, but Risk Assessment Inadequate

There are far higher concentrations of glyphosate from commercial GM glyphosate-tolerant soybeans in the global food chain, compared to glyphosate-tolerant soybeans from field trials used for safety assessments. […]

EU’s Risk Assessment of Herbicide-Tolerant GE Soybeans Falls Short

Current EU risk assessment practice for food and feed derived from herbicide-tolerant GE plants needs substantial improvement, otherwise health risks will be underestimated. […]

New Report Reveals Substantial Gaps in European Risk Assessment of GMOs

A report on the risk assessment of GMOs in the EU and Switzerland reveals substantial gaps, concluding that current standards of risk assessment are not sufficient to fulfil the legal requirements of determining the safety of GMOs or the food and feed derived thereof. […]

Serious Threats Posed by Gene Drives for Conservation

Gene drives proposed for conservation purposes pose serious threats because their implementation could have far-reaching unintended consequences and could trigger irremediable modification of the natural environment. […]

Ecological Risks of Releasing GE Wild Mice into Natural Habitats

The proposed use of genome editing and gene drives to genetically engineer wild populations would spread introduced genes throughout surrounding populations. This article discusses the ecological risks of releasing genome edited wild mice into the environment. […]