Products of new genetic modification techniques should be strictly regulated as GMOs
New genetic modification techniques (NGMTs) are increasingly being developed and applied to generate new varieties of food crops and livestock animals. They are also being used for other purposes, such as to develop gene drives. They include – but are not restricted to – CRISPR-Cas/Cpf, TALENs, zinc finger nucleases, oligonucleotide directed mutagenesis, cisgenesis, transgrafting, and RNA-dependent DNA methylation. These techniques are sometimes referred to as “new (plant) breeding techniques” (NBTs or NPBTs). Some of them are also referred to as “genome editing” or “gene editing” techniques (CRISPR-Cas/Cpf, TALENs, zinc finger nucleases, oligonucleotide directed mutagenesis). These genome altering tools are also being used to expedite developments in synthetic biology, as one of the aims of these developments is to engineer novel biochemical pathways, and thus characteristics, into organisms ranging from viruses, bacteria and plants to animals. While in medicine these methods are recognized as important tools that produce unprecedented genetic modifications, advocates in other disciplines seem to suggest that a different standard should be applied to their application in other fields. Such is the case in what we term here environmental applications, including agriculture as well as the management of a diversity of other ecological situations, e.g. insect-vectored epidemics, weed-control, and many others. The signatories below assert that products of NGMTs should be strictly regulated as GMOs.
WHO WE ARE.
ENSSER · The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility
ENSSER is committed to:
- Transparent, high quality scientific information that focuses on the ecological, health, and socioeconomic aspects of technology use.
- The assessment of alternative options within technology policy, strengthening innovation and long term sustainability, meanwhile prioritising public and environmental safety.
The objective of ENSSER is the advancement of public-good science and research for the protection of the environment, biological diversity and human health against adverse impacts of new technologies and their products.
ENSSER advocates benign and peaceful use of scientific discoveries and technological developments, while expanding diverse approaches to assess their utility and safety in society.
ENSSER considers that critical, independent and transparent analyses of technology options can best promote sustainable and humane technology development that addresses both current and future social and environmental problems.
ENSSER promotes the critical European and international discourse on new technologies, their impacts and their regulation. As scientific and technological advances, are increasingly driven by private interest, health and environmental safety information needs often lag behind. As a result, the relationship between science, society and environment in science policy should be restructured to better protect the public interest.
ENSSER promotes critical thinking to help reshape current models towards more democratic and participatory agenda-setting processes. This requires creating spaces for scientific information independent from economic and political influence, and includes the identification, use, and quality assessment of scientific, lay, local, traditional and other knowledge sources.
WHAT WE DO.
ENSSER brings together independent scientific expertise to develop public-good knowledge for the critical assessment of existing and emerging technologies.
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