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Gilles-Eric Séralini

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TheSparc provides both scientists and the general public free open access to scientific papers that are important for the survival of people and planet. It offers authors the opportunity to reach the widest readership. It is a knowledge archive, a systematic collection of papers that are classified by subject areas and searchable by subject, authors, and key words. It is ‘floating’: the papers are stored on other websites. Both published papers and preprints can be included.

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New from TheSparc 4th December 2015

A new Biosafety Report by GenØk - Centre for Biosafety, Tromsø, Norway provides detailed discussion on the uncertainties, knowledge gaps and research needs related to the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (Nordgård et al., 2015). The report identifies many unresolved scientific uncertainties and potential adverse effects related to their impacts on the ecosystem and human and animal health, including unintended effects of the genetic modification, the imprecision of GM methods, inadequate techniques for characterising GM organisms.

The field of synthetic biology has been dubbed genetic engineering “on steroids” with the industry now expanding its applications to the extractive industry and “climate smart” agriculture. Two new reports from the ETC group summarise these issues with the first on the generation of synthetic microbes that transform natural gas into chemicals and foods using techniques such as “gaseous fermentation”(ETC Group, 2015a), involving collaborations between a dozen private companies from bot the biotech and extractive industry and a US government program. The second report details the use of synthetic biology in agriculture (ETC Group, 2015b). Changing fundamental natural processes such as photosynthesis instead of moving away from industrial agriculture is not only risky but unsustainable and likely ineffective, exacerbating deforestation, genetic contamination and threatening biodiversity.

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network have published a report on the costs of GM farming to farmers in Canada (CBAN, 2015). The report documents a rise in farmer debt due to the increased costs of GM seeds, the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds as well as GM contamination in non-GM farms. Not only are these GM products potentially dangerous to health of people and planet, the economic benefits are only transferred to industry, while farmers suffer the consequences.

Agroecology has been a traditional practice in much of the world including much of the African continent. Despite this, the continent as a whole is being targeting for the next marketing opportunity for the bigAg industry. Oakland Institute have published 33 case studies highlighting the success of various agro-ecological farming methods in different regions and further exposes the hidden agendas of bigAg in the continent (Oakland Institute).

Have a look at previous synopses here 2015 | 2014

Agriculture, Genetic Modification
Report Release: Outsmarting Nature? (2015)
ETC Group
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Agriculture, Genetic Modification
Are GM crops better for farmers? (2015)
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
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Agriculture, Sustainability
The Untold Success Story: Agroecology in Africa Addresses Climate Change, Hunger, and Poverty (2015)
Oakland Institute
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Genetic Modification
Extreme Biotech Meets Extreme Energy (2015)
ETC Group
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Agriculture, Genetic Modification
Uncertainty and Knowledge Gaps related to Environmental Risk Assessment of GMOs (2015)
Nordgård, L.; Bøhn, T.; Gillund, F.; Grønsberg, I.M.; Iversen, M.; Myhr, A.I.; Okeke, M.I.; Okoli, A.S.; Venter, H.; Wikmark, O-G.
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