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Short version for the panel debate 25. 9. 2013 Klaus Ammann, Prof. emeritus University of Bern, Switzerland.

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Presentation on theme: "Short version for the panel debate 25. 9. 2013 Klaus Ammann, Prof. emeritus University of Bern, Switzerland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Short version for the panel debate 25. 9. 2013 Klaus Ammann, Prof. emeritus University of Bern, Switzerland


3 Map of history of movement of crops around the globe Dubock, A.C. (2009) Crop conundrum. Nutrition Reviews, 67, 1, pp 17-20 ://WOS:000261881200002 AND For the major crops, there is no indigenous original center of landraces existing Defense of the Motherland...

4 Linden, A. & Fenn, J. (2003) Understanding Gartner's Hype Cycles, Gartner Research pp 12 Strategic Analysis Report (Report)

5 Linden, A. & Fenn, J. (2003) Understanding Gartner's Hype Cycles, Gartner Research pp 12 Strategic Analysis Report (Report)


7 Check for updates at or contact EuropaBio for more info 1. June 2012

8 First homemade GE crop in Brazil approved Also the latest success of approving regulatory decisions is symptomatic for the positive biotech climate in Brazil: The first fully in Brazil developed transgenic crop has been approved for commercialization, published in 2007: (Bonfim et al., 2007), see also (Neto, 2003). The press release of the president of AnBio (National Biosafety Association) Leila Oda emphasizes also the socio-economic importance of this approval: (Oda, 2011). "Besides being the first 100% national transgenic technology, there will be a very positive impact on a crop that is predominantly grown by small producers," said Oda, who is also a former president of CTNBio. "Benefits are many for both farmers and for the many millions of Brazilian consumers." The seed of genetically modified (GMO) beans was developed by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), a public research institution linked to the federal government.

9 De Souza, L. (20111018), Brazilian virus-resistant beans, A homemade, high potential benefit-driven development from the public sector, Biofortified: beans/#more-7511 AND publ: AND


11 NAS National Academy of Sciences, Kelman, A., Anderson, W., Falkov, S., Fedoroff, N., & Levin, S. (1987) Introduction of Recombinant DNA-Engineered Organisms into the Environment: Key Issues. National Academy Press, Washington DC, USA, pp 24 Engineered-Environment-1987.pdf NAS National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Genetically Modified Pest-Protected Plants, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, & National Research Council (2000) Genetically Modified Pest-Protected Plants: Science and Regulation, Prepublication and IS: ISBN: 0-309-06930-0, def: 0-309-50467-8 pp 290 AND prepublication: http://www.ask- prepublication-2000.pdfhttp://www.ask- prepublication-2000.pdf Engineered-Environment-1987.pdf Engineered-Environment-1987.pdf AND final copy: http://www.ask- 2000.pdfhttp://www.ask- 2000.pdf Genomic Misconception Clearly declared in 1987 By the US National Academies No difference between conventional and transgenic crops

12 “There is no evidence that unique hazards exist either in the use of R-DNA techniques or in the transfer of genes between unrelated organisms”, and: “The risks associated with R-DNA engineered organisms are the same in kind as those associated with the introduction into the environment of unmodified organisms and organisms modified by other genetic techniques.” and: “Assessment of the risks of introducing R-DNA-engineered organisms into the environment should be based on the nature of the organism and the environment into which it will be introduced, not on the method by which it was modified.”

13 Urban Myth Genetic Engineering is fundamentally different from Natural Mutation Wrong: Natural Mutation and Transgenesis are identical on the molecular level Ammann, K. (20120706) Genomic Misconception: A fresh look at the biosafety of transgenic and conventional crops, a plea for a process agnostic regulation New Biotechnology, in press, pp 32

14 Pontifical Academy of Science, Vatican Bishop Marcelo Sanchez – Sorondo, Secretary Prof. Dr. Werner Arber, President Nobel Laureate 1978

15 Baudo, M.M., Lyons, R., Powers, S., Pastori, G.M., Edwards, K.J., Holdsworth, M.J., & Shewry, P.R. (2006) Transgenesis Has Less Impact on the Transcriptome of Wheat Grain Than Conventional Breeding. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 4, 4, pp 369-380 Shewry, P.R. & Jones, H.D. (2005) Transgenic Wheat: Where Do We Stand after the First 12 Years? Annals of Applied Biology, 147, 1, pp 1-14 Baudo: comparison in genomic disturbance: GM crops are less disturbed (black dots) than classic breeds Scatter plot representation of transcriptome comparisons, Baudo et al. 2006 transgenic vs. control endosperm 14 dpa 28 dpa 8 dpg 2 conventional lines Endosperm 14 dpa 28 dpaleaf at 8 dpg transgenic vs. conventional Endosperm 14 dpa 28 dpaleaf at 8 dpg

16 European Biosafety and the Cartagena Protocol The biosafety protocol is based on the wrong Premises: See Genomic Misconception in this slides: Natural Mutation and transgenesis are the same on the molecular level.

17 System map of the principal issues, challenges and feedback loops in the risk management component of the legislation EPEC-SANCO (2011) Evaluation of the EU legislative framework in the field of cultivation of GMOs under Directive 2001/18/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, and the placing on the market of GMOs as or in products under Directive 2001/18/EC Final Report, pp. 137. European Commission DG Sanco food/biotechnology/evalu ation/docs/gmo_cultivatio n_report_en.pdf

18 Innovation in agbiotech. (a) Location and sector of organizations conducting R&D for the 558 transgenic product quality innovations identified. Private sector consists of corporate and privately held firms. Public sector consists of government research laboratories, universities and nonprofit research institutes. (b) Annual entry, exit and the numbers of innovations active in the R&D pipeline were calculated from observations of the 558 innovations tracked in the primary survey. The number of active innovations stopped growing in 1998, after which those new innovations that entered were more likely to be published and less likely to move toward commercialization. Fig.1 from (Graff et al., 2009b). Graff, G.D., Zilberman, D., & Bennett, A.B. (2009) The contraction of agbiotech product quality innovation. Nature Biotechnology, 27, 8, pp 702-704

19 But the world has seldom seen a greater discrepancy between the inherent hazard of a product and the level of regulatory burden imposed on it than exists today for crops improved through biotech. It is important, here, to be very clear: there is no basis in science for regulation specific to crops and foods improved through biotech or ‘GMOs’ Giddings, V., Potrykus, I., Ammann K., & Fedoroff, N. (2012) Confronting the Gordian knot, Opinion. Nature Biotechnology, 30, 3, pp 208-209

20 context=agricultural/positions/undue-delays-eu-approval-safe-gm-products

21 Gómez-Galera, S., Twyman, R.M., Sparrow, P.A.C., Van Droogenbroeck, B., Custers, R., Capell, T., & Christou, P. (2012) Field trials and tribulations—making sense of the regulations for experimental field trials of transgenic crops in Europe. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 10, 5, pp 511-523 AND

22 Milan, 16 - 17 November 2012 Destruction of 30 years of field research Prof. Eddo Ruggini Università di Tusca Nature Biotechnology “It can be seen as a demolition of a scientific cultural monument, an act of legal vandalism,” says Klaus Ammann from the University of Bern.“ Meldolesi, A. (2012) Destruction of transgenic olive field trial dubbed 'vandalism'. Nat Biotech, 30, 8, pp 736-736 http://www.ask- i-Destruction-Transgenic-Olive-Field- Italy-2012.pdf

23 Gómez-Galera, S., Twyman, R.M., Sparrow, P.A.C., Van Droogenbroeck, B., Custers, R., Capell, T., & Christou, P. (2012) Field trials and tribulations—making sense of the regulations for experimental field trials of transgenic crops in Europe. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 10, 5, pp 511-523 AND

24 Kuntz, M. (2011) Academic and governmental research on GMOs has been the target of numerous acts of vandalism in Europe. In OGM, environnement, santé et politique. Prof. Marcel Kuntz, Grenoble, news in English, French and Spanish AND AND AND Kuntz M. (2012) Destruction of public and governmental experiments of GMO in Europe. GM Crops & Food, 3, 4, pp 1-7 AND crops-2012.pdf

25 European Safety Attitude: let not the Europeans decide about Biosafety in Africa and the Near East, do your own safety assessment European safety attitude: a problem for many countries in the developing world

26 Urban Myth Herbicide resistant weeds are caused by transgenic soybeans Wrong: Herbicide resistant weeds are an old problem in agriculture, still less severe with transgenic crops.

27 Development of resistant weeds with herbicide use

28 Urban Myth Crop varieties have diminished due to modern biotechnology breeding Wrong: A new worldwide market study shows the contrary: Crop varieties have steadily grown in numbers since WW II

29 van de Wouw, M., van Hintum, T., Kik, C., van Treuren, R., & Visser, B. (2010) Genetic diversity trends in twentieth century crop cultivars: a meta analysis. TAG Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 120, 6, pp 1241-1252 Biodiv/van-de-Wouw-Genetic-Diversity-Trends- 2010.pdf

30 Fig. 4 Wheat genetic diversity (a) and crop genetic diversity (excluding wheat) (b) in the twentieth century based on a weighted meta analysis of 20 publications. The diversity in the decade with the lowest diversity was set to 100 Ammann, K. (20120317) Biodiversity and the debate on GM crops - Can GM crops help to enhance biodiversity?. In ASK- FORCE AF-11, Vol. AF-11, pp. 103. K. Ammann, Neuchâtel 11-Biodiversity/AF-11-Biodiversity-Biotechnology- 20120317-numbered.doc 11-Biodiversity-Biotechnology-20120317-web.doc 11-Biodiversity-Biotechnology-20120317-web.pdf 11-Biodiversity-Biotechnology-20120317- opensource.doc 11-Biodiversity-Biotechnology-20120317- opensource.pdf

31 Source: National Geographic, July 2011 A Century Ago In 1930 commercial seed houses offered hundreds of varieties as shown in this sampling of ten crops 80 Years Later By 1983 few of those varieties were found in the National Seed Storage Laboratory with completely wrong numbers based on the old RAFI study Fowler, C. & Mooney, P., R., (1990) US: Shattering : food, politics, and the loss of genetic diversity GB: The threatened gene: Food, politics and the loss of genetic diversity US: The University of Arizona Press GB: Lutterworth Press P.O. Box 60 Cambridge CB12NT Printed Billing & Sons Ltd, Worcester, US: Tucson GB: Cambridge, IS: ISBN 0 7188 2830 5., pp xvi, 278 p 1/qid=1320748094/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1320748094&s r=1-1&seller= AND from the etc Group: Gene-1990.pdf Gene-1990.pdf

32 Heald, P.J. & Chapman, S. (2011) Veggie Tales: Pernicious Myths About Patents, Innovation, and Crop Diversity in the Twentieth Century. SSRN eLibrary, pp

33 Heald, P.J. & Chapman, S. (2011) Veggie Tales: Pernicious Myths About Patents, Innovation, and Crop Diversity in the Twentieth Century. SSRN eLibrary, pp

34 Organic Tomatoes: No better quality There is scientific proof of the following 1. Tomato quality differs heavily on environmental conditions Chassy, A.W., Bui, L., Renaud, E.N.C., Van Horn, M., & Mitchell, A.E. (2006) Three-year comparison of the content of antioxidant microconstituents and several quality characteristics in organic and conventionally managed tomatoes and bell peppers. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 54, 21, pp 8244-8252 Tomatoes-2006.pdf 2. The claim that organic tomatoes have higher content of antioxidants is false Mitchell, A.E., Hong, Y.J., Koh, E., Barrett, D.M., Bryant, D.E., Denison, R.F., & Kaffka, S. (2007) Ten-Year Comparison of the Influence of Organic and Conventional Crop Management Practices on the Content of Flavonoids in Tomatoes. J. Agric. Food Chem., pp AND Fig-4.ppt AND rebuttal Hudson Institute Fig-4.ppt 3. The claim that organic food has higher quality has been falsified by several studies Dangour, A.D., Dodhia, S.K., Hayter, A., Allen, E., Lock, K., & Uauy, R. (2009) Nutritional quality of organic foods: a systematic review, including controversy. Am J Clin Nutr, 90, pp ajcn.2009.28041 and 680-685 AND AND AND to-Gibbon-Benbrook2009.pdf to-Gibbon-Benbrook2009.pdf

35 unfortunately, planning problems in the field of green biotechnology have now evolved into wicked problems with complex structures and no obvious causal chains

36 Solving wicked problems needs new, second generation system approaches in communication and decision making

37 Operation Research (Simon) Systems Approach (Rittel) Separation of Problem Definition and Problem Solution Problem Definition and Problem solution cannot be separated Objectivity of Solution Political nature of solution Classification (Taxonomy) of planning problems Every planning problem is basically unique Expertise alone Symmetry of ignorance Different kinds of Knowledge Ill- and wellstructured problems depends on completeness of problem description Wicked and Tame Problems are two different classes, no common denominator

38 Every scientific or technical problem is a social problem. We can call it wicked, complicated or wild…depending on how we operate in society

39 Elements of second generation communication and decision making: reduce hidden agendas encourage collaborative learning atmosphere Symmetry of ignorance different kinds of knowledge:

40 to respect different kinds of knowledge is better than the stakeholder concept factual knowledge deontic knowledge explanatory knowledge instrumental knowledge procedural knowledge conceptual knowledge traditional knowledge

41 only those should Participate who are part of the problem and who are ready for active listening and ready for an open end debate

42 piss off !! Always say what you think! you can only die once

43 Genepeace, Not Greenpeace

44 Lynas Mark (20130826), The True Story About Who Destroyed a Genetically Modified Rice Crop, in: Slate, 6, Washington Post, Washington DC, html AND html

45 Forgot what we are protesting We are programmed in millions of years of evolution to be alarmed and act accordingly What helps: Constant framing And moral self- licensing Merritt, A.C., Effron, D.A., & Monin, B. (2010) Moral Self-Licensing: When Being Good Frees Us to Be Bad. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4, 5, pp 344-357 http://www.ask- Moral-Self-Licensing-2010.pdf

46 bye bye Heliotis bye bye pesticides Percentage GM cotton in the USA Bt-toxin may be hazardous to your health, don‘t swallow and keep away from children The Euro-Bills are made out of transgenic Bt - cotton

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