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Shaping the Future of GMO Research

Stakeholder with interests in the risk and/or benefit assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are invited to take part in an online survey.

The aim of this survey is to identify which research needs should be prioritised, thereby contributing to the commissioning of research on the health, environment and economic impacts of GMOs.

The survey will close on 15th July 2015.

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Latest News

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24 April 2015
The European Commission authorized 17 GM crops
The European Commission licensed 10 new GM varieties of maize, soy, oilseed rape and cotton for import, as well as renewing seven existing licenses.

22 April 2015
EU Commission: Proposal for the nationalization of GM imports
The College of European Commissioners published a proposal for the nationalization of GM imports. If adopted it would give individual EU countries the right to restrict or ban the use of GM products in their territory after they have received EU-wide approval.

13 November 2014
GRACE rejects Testbiotech’s criticisms of GMO feeding study
90-day feeding study with genetically modified MON810 maize does not reveal adverse effects in laboratory animals.

17 October 2014
EU research project GRACE publishes first study findings
GRACE is investigating which methods are suitable for assessing the risk of genetically modified plants. A key question is which test methods can reliably identify the medium- and long-term health impacts of eating GM crops. The GRACE research project was asked by the European Commission to test various methods for this purpose. They included 90-day and one-year animal feeding trials with rodents, and in vitro methods, which can for instance be used to test the effects of GM plants on cell cultures.

24 September 2014
USDA Allows Commercial Planting of Enlist™ Corn and Soybeans
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given the final approval to Dow AgroSciences Enlist corn and soybean traits in the United States. The approval applies to the Enlist corn, Enlist soybean and Enlist E3 soybean traits. The company now awaits registration of Enlist Duo herbicide with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits.

24 June 2014
GM crops stand for necessary solutions for the environment
Keynote speech at BIO 2014: Hillary Clinton said that she is in favor of using seeds and products that have a proven track record those as the GMO products are. Especially for developing countries this technology would be very important as its stand for necessary solutions for the environment.

28 May 2014
EU imports of GM soy: sustainable or not?
The European Union’s high dependence on soy imports as a source of animal protein feed is facing increasing resistance. One aspect of the criticism levelled against soy imports is the negative public attitude towards GM soy beans and meal, which make up over 90 per cent of imported soy. In current political debates there are therefore calls to replace GM soy imports by expanding European cultivation of grain legumes.

28 May 2014
GM crops continue to boost productivity and farm incomes
During the last 17 years, the adoption of GMO technology has resulted in significant socio-economic benefits and advantages for farmers in developing and developed countries. The income and productivity gains stem predominantly from the fact that GM crops have enabled farmers to switch to more sustainable farming practices.

22 May 2014
Germany for national self-determination on GMO cultivation
The German Bundestag is calling for self-determination of Member States in relation to the cultivation of genetically modified plants. On 21 May, it asked the German government to “create legal options for national opt-outs”. Germany will therefore speak out in favour of national cultivation bans at the meeting of the EU Council of Ministers scheduled for June. This will remove the blocking minority at EU level that has so far prevented the adoption of an opt-out clause.

30 April 2014
Brazil: First commercial approval for GM insects
In April 2014, Brazil became the first country worldwide to approve genetically modified insects. The insects in question are tiger mosquitoes whose offspring are incapable of surviving. The aim in releasing these insects is to decimate mosquito populations that carry the potentially lethal dengue fever.

15 April 2014
Workshop: Scientific Value of 90-day Feeding Studies
This stakeholder workshop (Brussels, Belgium on 19 and 20 May 2014) provides an opportunity for all interested stakeholders to review the results obtained so far by the EU research project GRACE and to discuss their interpretation.

20 February 2014
Study: No negative environmental impact of GM maize in Spain
Spanish scientists have confirmed in a study that genetically modified Bt maize has no negative impact on numerous small creatures living in maize fields. They analysed 13 field trials which took place in Spain.

25 September 2013
The Queen of Beans
With the growth in global demand for soybeans comes an increasing need for responsible soy production. Laura Foell, a director of the United Soybean Board, has been farming soybeans for more than two decades. In her experience, transgenic crops are an important tool for making soybean production more sustainable.

22 July 2013
Peer Review – Where you thought it ended?
“This is a peer-reviewed study!” In the increasingly heated battles waged lately by crusaders against innovation in agriculture, such assertions are increasingly thrown down like a gauntlet. The intent is to negate findings by regulators and scientists around the world that crops and foods improved through biotechnology are safe.

05 July 2013
Africa’s path to self-sufficiency
Africa is facing huge challenges through population growth, land-scarcity and climate change. But instead of relying on outside help, African countries are increasingly focusing on their own strengths. An important aspect of this development is the focus on the research and cultivation of genetically-modified crops.

11 October 2012
Séralini study does not provide evidence of GM maize health risk
According to the results of a long-term feeding study at the University of Caen in France, genetically modified NK603 maize leads to severe health problems in rats. However, the results are disputed in scientific circles.

11 May 2012
Turkey’s biosafety law causes heavy losses to agri-food chain
According to the new Economic Impact Assessment by British consultant Graham Brookes (PG Economics), Turkey’s biosafety law has had a substantial negative economic impact on the food manufacturing and livestock production sectors.

28 January 2011
Brazil utilises more GM crops than ever before
A study conducted by the specialist agricultural consulting company Celeres indicates that the majority of soybeans and maize in Brazil comes from genetically modified (GM) seeds. The company also notes a national tendency towards increase.

21 January 2011
Spain: Bt maize keeps going
While the cultivation total of maize in Spain was reduced by eleven per cent in 2010 in comparison to 2009, the share occupied by Bt maize remained constant at 21 per cent. The only European country to do so, Spain maintains large-scale fields of Bt maize that total 68,000 hectares – and a new poll suggests that this will at least remain so.

07 January 2011
USA: Co-existence – new accents in biotech policy
In an open letter to users and critics of green biotechnology, Secretary of Agriculture of the USA, Tom Vilsack, has called for greater cooperation. The Secretary stated that a common goal should be the coexistence of various methods of agricultural production.

03 December 2010
Vatican scientists see “moral imperative” in GMO
In a statement released at the end of November 2010, forty international scientists including seven Vatican advisors have called for the relaxation of “excessive, unscientific regulations” applied to genetically modified (GM) crops. The foundation of the statement lies in a week-long closed meeting held in May 2009 at the Vatican.

26 November 2010
German Constitutional Court confirms biotech law
The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has confirmed essential stipulations of what is known as the ‘genetic engineering act’. Currently-valid restrictions on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) plants remain in effect thereby. Farmers who plant GM maize are responsible for economic damage caused by its cross-pollination – collectively and irrespective of fault.

29 October 2010
Biotechnology: EU Commission for 0.1 per cent tolerance in feed
The EU Commission has presented its long-promised recommendation for tolerable magnitudes of unapproved genetically modified organisms (GMO) in agricultural imports: in the future, unintentional impurities should be permitted up to 0.1 per cent – but only for feed. Member States have yet to agree.

22 October 2010
Biotech in fruit and vegetables: a lot of research, few approval
A multitude of plants bearing fruit and vegetables is the subject of research world-wide. Many plants developed in this manner with new traits have been tested successfully in greenhouses and in field trials. However, few endeavours currently are made towards the commercial use of such types of fruit and vegetables, as indicated by a study published in the current issue of the professional journal Nature Biotechnology.

15 October 2010
International GMO liability treaty: agreement after six years
After six years of intense negotiations, parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety finally agreed on a new international treaty in Nagoya, Japan. According to the treaty, countries that import genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and plant them will now have a legal claim to redress in case of damage to their biodiversity.

29 September 2010
EU report puts forward isolation distances for GM maize
On this weeks meeting of the Agricultural Council of the EU, the Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli presented a Best Practice Document for the cultivation of GM maize. The report was drawn up by the European Coexistence Bureau to propose measures that avoid the mixing of GM and conventional maize.

24 September 2010
Germany: GM labelling rules are generally obeyed
In the EU, food products that consist of GMOs or contain GMOs have to be labelled. In Germany each year inspectors test thousands of food products for their GM content. The results for 2009 from a majority of the German regions ("Länder") indicate that the GM labelling rules were largely followed.

23 September 2010
USA: Dispute over the approval of genetically modified salmon
The recommendation by experts that that further testing be conducted for the time being was the conclusion of a hearing arranged by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and echoed broadly in the media. The salmon would have been the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption.

18 September 2010
John Dalli: A "technical solution" for traces of unapproved GMOs
John Dalli, EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection, intends to defuse the problem of traces of unapproved genetically modified organisms (GMOs) found in agricultural imports. At the 6th European Conference of GM free Regions, Commissioner Dalli announced the finding of a "technical solution" quite soon.

11 September 2010
USA: New court hearings for GM sugar beet
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) intends in the coming year once more to allow limited cultivation of genetically modified (GM) sugar beet under controlled conditions. Environmental and consumer groups have reacted by announcing further court hearings.

10 September 2010
Amflora potato: Intermixing in Sweden, ban in Germany
During cultivation of the Amflora starch potato in Sweden, intermixture has occurred with another type of genetically modified (GM) potato that is not yet approved. Till Backhaus, Minister for Agriculture in the north-east German state of Mecklenburg-Lower Pomerania has responded by prohibiting the dissemination of Amflorapotatoes grown in his region.

02 September 2010
EU: The first harvest of the Amflora potato
Since March 2010 the first genetically modified (GM) potato, Amflora, is approved in the EU. This week its first harvest began in Germany. In spite of on-site protests German Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Rainer Brüderle, pulled up the first tubers from the 14 hectares big field in Northern Germany

26 August 2010
Approval of a new GM soybean in Brazil
The Brazilian commission for biosafety (CTNBio) approved two new versions of GM soybean for commercial cultivation. One, Bt Roundup Ready 2 Yield, is the first insect-resistant GM soybean and the first GM crop that Monsanto specifically developed for a market outside the US.

17 August 2010
US court revokes approval of GM sugar beets
A federal court in the US revoked the approval of GM sugar beets. It states that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had not adequately evaluated possible consequences that commercial cultivation could have on the environment. The ruling will not affect this year’s harvest.

12 August 2010
Rural Indian women benefit from GM crops
While a common assumption holds that GMOs primarily benefit multinationals and farmers in industrialised countries, in India it is the poor rural women who profit most from the cultivation of a GM cotton crop. As reported in Nature Biotechnology in May, researchers from the University of Göttingen in Germany and the University of Warwick, UK, have found that cultivation of insect-resistant GM cotton has lead to massive gains for hired female labour.

06 August 2010
Uganda: Field trial with drought-tolerant maize
In November, field trials with genetically modified (GM) drought-tolerant maize are expected to begin in Uganda. The maize is part of an international project aimed towards the development of high-yielding maize varieties that are adapted to African conditions.

29 July 2010
Philippines: GM aubergines field-tested for approval
In the Philippines, the approval of genetically modified (GM) aubergines has moved a step closer. The vegetables are resistant to a prominent pest and may enter the market as early as 2011.

28 July 2010
EU Commission: Import approval for six GM maize lines
The EU Commission issued import approvals on 28.07.2010 for six more genetically modified (GM) maize lines. As generally occurs, preceding ballots in the Standing Committee and in the EU Council of Ministers did not result in the required qualified majority.

19 July 2010
GM-labelling: EU against expansion
The labelling of genetically modified (GM) food products in Europe will not be changed. An attempt by the federal government of Germany has failed in Brussels to effect legally-binding labelling requirements for further applications of genetic engineering.

13 July 2010
EU Commission: Countries to decide independently on GM crops
As expected, the EU Commission decided on 13.07.2010 changes in the legal regulation of green biotechnology. Accordingly, Member States should be able to prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops that have been approved EU-wide. As the next step, the EU Parliament and Council of Ministers must agree.

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