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28.09.2017 |

Products of new GM techniques must be strictly regulated as GMOs, say scientists

Risks of new GM techniques include toxic food crops and ecological harm, says a statement signed by over 60 scientists

The products of new genetic modification techniques (NGMTs) are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should be strictly regulated as such, according to a statement released today by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).

The statement challenges claims by proponents that these new GM techniques (often called New Plant Breeding Techniques or NPBTs) are so precise and controllable that their products are not genetically modified organisms in the usual sense and do not pose any greater risks than their non-GMO counterparts. Proponents are arguing for deregulation of the products of new GM techniques at the European level. This would mean that these products would not undergo a mandatory safety assessment and would not carry a GMO label.

However, according to the ENSSER statement, which is currently signed by over 60 international scientists, scientific evidence shows that these techniques (including CRISPR-Cas/Cpf to oligonucleotide directed mutagenesis, cisgenesis, and RNA-dependent DNA methylation) “are highly prone to off-target effects”. In the case of food crops produced with these techniques, that could lead to unexpected toxicity or allergenicity.

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