Stop the Spread of Transgenes!

, Thursday 1st January 1970 to Thursday 1st January 1970

The first genetically engineered plants were created in 1983 and have been grown commercially since 1996. Meanwhile, early warnings from many experts have become reality. There is now uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered plants such as maize, rice, cotton, oilseed rape, bentgrass and poplar trees. The countries and regions where this is happening include the USA and Canada, Middle America, Japan, China, Australia and Europe. In many cases, the plants have escaped far beyond the fields into the environment. In some regions, the transgenes have already moved into populations of wild relatives.

There are various reasons for transgene escape. Apart from commercial cultivation and experimental field trials, losses from the import and transport of viable grains for food and feed production are a source of uncontrolled dispersal. The consequences cannot be reliably predicted and from the cases documented in the overview it is evident that no prediction can be made on how these plants will behave in the long-term or interact with biodiversity.

In the light of these findings, the signatores call onto the contracting parties of the international Cartagena Protocol for biosafety to address and halt the spread of genetically organisms into the environment.

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