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.

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289m as Jury Rules Glyphosate-based Herbicide Caused Man’s Cancer

Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289m in damages. […]

Global Glyphosate Pilot Study Shows Health Effects at ‘Safe’ Doses

A global pilot study on the health effects of glyphosate-based herbicides has shown disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria at doses considered safe by the US-EPA. […]

Extensive Phenotypic Differences Between GE and Non-GE Cultivated Plants

A meta-analysis of genetic data on wild, GMO and non-GMO cultivated varieties of rice, canola, maize, sunflower, and pumpkin found significant and unintended phenotypic effects, suggesting consequences of genetic modification beyond the target trait(s). […]

High Environmental Exposure to Glyphosate and Reproductive Health Impacts in Argentina

Research has found high glyphosate concentrations in and around an agricultural town in Argentina. At the same time, there have been increased frequencies of reproductive disorders in the local population. […]

Novel Features of Gene Drives Warrant Advanced Risk and Technology Assessments

An understanding of the novel features of gene drive organisms is necessary to evaluate their impacts on the environment.Current risk assessment approaches may need to be updated and adapted, and complemented with a broader technology assessment approach. […]

GM Maize Approved in the EU Despite Concerns Raised by Member States

The European Food Safety Authority has been critiqued for repeatedly failing to address valid scientific concerns about a GM maize approved for food and feed in the EU, which has been found to cause kidney damage and bladder stones in rats. […]

Toxic Formulants and Heavy Metals in Glyphosate-based Herbicides

Formulations of glyphosate-based herbicides are found to be much more toxic on both plants and human cells than glyphosate alone. Toxic heavy metals such as arsenic are also found in these herbicides. […]

GM Crops Drive Increased Pesticide Use in Brazil

The adoption of GM crops in Brazil has led to an increase in pesticide use with possible increases in environmental and human exposure and associated negative impacts. […]

CRISPR Gene Drives Equivalent to Creating a New, Highly Invasive Species

Two journal articles spell out why current CRISPR-based gene drives are too risky for field and even lab experimentation because they are remarkably aggressive and are likely to spread to most populations of the target species throughout the world. […]

Combinatorial Effects of Stacked GM Plants Deserve Proper Assessment

New peer-reviewed data has shown how two Cry-toxins acted in combination and that the same Cry-toxins showed combinatorial effects when co-exposed with Roundup. EFSA dismissal of such research exposes the weaknesses in their risk assessment processes. […]