Assessment & Impacts

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.

Rat Study Finds Glyphosate Increases Disease Incidence in Future Generations

This study on rats provides evidence that the health effects from glyphosate can be inherited by subsequent generations, suggesting the need to assess the impacts of environmental exposures on future generations. […]

A Feminist Ethics of Care Framework for Risk Assessment of GM Crops

This study finds that current risk assessment of GM crops in South Africa is flawed, stemming from a neoliberal, productivist perception, and recommends the Feminist Ethics of Care as a holistic framework that acknowledges the strength of socio-ecological relationships. […]

GM Crops Unlikely to Ever Meet the Requirements of Sustainable Agriculture

Despite the promises, GM crops, including the new gene-edited crops, are unlikely to ever meet the agronomic, social and environmental requirements of sustainable agriculture. […]

Glyphosate-resistant Weed from the US Invades Japan through GM Grain Imports

A glyphosate-resistant weed has naturalized in Japan less than 10 years after it was first discovered in the US, the largest exporter of GM glyphosate-resistant grain to Japan, providing evidence that GM crop imports can be a pathway for spread of problematic weed species. […]

Organic Diets Can Rapidly Reduce Glyphosate Levels in the Body

This study demonstrates that diet is a primary source of glyphosate exposure and that shifting to an organic diet is a fast and effective way to reduce glyphosate levels in both adults and children. […]

Glyphosate-based Herbicides Cause Unintended Effects Even in Glyphosate-Tolerant Soy

Glyphosate-based herbicides can adversely affect the physiological processes of plants, even those genetically modified to be tolerant to them, and more so in GM stacked varieties. […]

Genome Editing Found to Cause Numerous Genomic Irregularities

A new scientific paper reveals that genome editing can cause genomic irregularities in the resultant GMOs, even if genes are not inserted, or inserted only transiently. This underscores the need for a process-oriented risk assessment, which would also improve the risk assessment of first-generation GMOs. […]

Need for Broad Assessment in the Regulation of Genome-Edited Products

This article evaluates arguments supporting that an approval procedure for genome-edited organisms for food or feed should include broad assessment covering societal, ethical and environmental concerns, and demonstrates that such assessment is feasible and justified. […]

GE Organisms that Spread in the Environment Can Rapidly Damage Biodiversity

Releases of GE organisms able to propagate and spread throughout natural populations can rapidly damage the stability of ecosystems and endanger the health of humans, animals and plants. […]

EU Needs More Robust Regulatory Assessments in Place for Gene Drives

A study finds that the EU’s current GMO regulatory provisions are insufficient to cover the potential environmental, human and animal health risks of releases of gene drive organisms into the environment and calls for more robust assessments to be developed. […]