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Against the Genomic Misconception a plea for the Canadian product - oriented regulation of novel crops Klaus Ammann, Prof. emeritus University of Bern,

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Presentation on theme: "Against the Genomic Misconception a plea for the Canadian product - oriented regulation of novel crops Klaus Ammann, Prof. emeritus University of Bern,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Against the Genomic Misconception a plea for the Canadian product - oriented regulation of novel crops Klaus Ammann, Prof. emeritus University of Bern, Switzerland Gatersleben, January 14, 2014

2 Help Fundamentalists Donate Brain

3 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 force.org/web/Fundamentalists/Merritt- Moral-Self-Licensing-2010.pdf

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

5 A list of reasons and behavior for the anxiety of the population on GMOs 1.Moral self licensing 2.Power of protest and industrial corporates, conspiracy theories: Seed companies and revolving doors 3.Framing processes 4.Tribal Life 5.Science of Fear: Evil always fascinates, Goodness rarely entertains 6.Semiotic views about Nature 7.Science, Ethics and Religion: Halal, Sharia, Vatican, Kosher Food, Amish Farmers 7. Professional discourse of the second Generation 8. Need for New World Visions

6 Amish farmers in biotech-debate: subsequent partial adoption of transgenic crops: 1999, see:

7 Urban Myth Genetic Engineering is fundamentally different from Natural Mutation Wrong: Natural Mutation and Transgenesis are identical on the molecular level Ammann, K. ( ) 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

8 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: , def: pp 290 AND prepublication: force.org/web/NAS/National-Research-Council-GM-Pest-Protected- prepublication-2000.pdfhttp://www.ask- force.org/web/NAS/National-Research-Council-GM-Pest-Protected- prepublication-2000.pdf Engineered-Environment-1987.pdfhttp://www.ask-force.org/web/NAS/NAS-Introduction-Recombinant-DNA- Engineered-Environment-1987.pdf AND final copy: force.org/web/NAS/National-Research-Council-GM-Pest-Protected-def pdfhttp://www.ask- force.org/web/NAS/National-Research-Council-GM-Pest-Protected-def pdf Genomic Misconception Clearly declared in 1987 By the US National Academies No difference between conventional and transgenic crops

9 “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.”

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

11 Interestingly, naturally occurring molecular evolution, i.e. the spontaneous generation of genetic variants has been seen to follow exactly the same three strategies as those used in genetic engineering14. These three strategies are (after W. Arber, Nobel Laureate 1978) (a) small local changes in the nucleotide sequences, (b) internal reshuffling of genomic DNA segments, and (c) acquisition of usually rather small segments of DNA from another type of organism by horizontal gene transfer. Arber, W. (2002) Roots, strategies and prospects of functional genomics. Current Science, 83, 7, pp Arber, W. (2010) Genetic engineering compared to natural genetic variations. New Biotechnology, 27, 5, pp Compared publ.pdf

12 However, there is a principal difference between the procedures of genetic engineering and those serving in nature for biological evolution. While the genetic engineer pre-reflects his alteration and verifies its results, nature places its genetic variations more randomly and largely independent of an identified goal. After ca. 15 years of testing the GM crops are brought to the field by millions in a few years Arber, W. (2002) Roots, strategies and prospects of functional genomics. Current Science, 83, 7, pp

13 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 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 Baudo: comparison in genomic disturbance: GM crops are less disturbed (black dots) than classic breeds Scatter plot representation of transcriptome comparisons, Baudo et al 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

14 Institute of Radiation Breeding Ibaraki-ken, JAPAN 100m radius 89 TBq Co-60 source at the center Shielding dike 8m high Gamma Field for radiation breeding Better spaghettis, whisky 1800 new plants Radiation breeding as field experiments

15 Gamma Field for Radiation Breeding Radiation site for mutation breeding, Co-60 radioactivity source of 89 TBq in the center, Radius of 100m. In this radiation field a human being would receive 3 deadly Sievers units of radiation after the exposure times given below 89 TBq represents the 140-fold of all Radioactivity of material stored in the German permanent storage site of Morsleben insgesamt eingelagerten Radioaktivität. 3,5 min 60 min Was muss man sich darunter vorstellen?

16 Reuters, May 10, 2010 UN's International Atomic Energy Agency since 1963, 2,252 new plant varieties, including Italian durum wheat, have been created using radioactive substances such as cobalt and X-rays. 70% of the crops under cultivation worldwide are radiation mutation varieties Charles Margulis of Greenpeace USA: "But now they tell us that scientists have been artificially hybridizing plants since the 1960s. That's, like, really uncool."

17 Activists, supported by Jane Rissler, called for a ban, since those irradiated varieties have never been tested for food safety, which would have wiped out 70% of the food products on shelfs. Rissler: “Compared to these plants, genetically modified food is about as dangerous as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.” But excellent repair mechanisms working like zippers are reducing radiation damage considerably And worldwide there has been no correlation established between radiation mutation and negative food safety facts. (Reuters 2001 continued)

18 Durum Wheat, Triticum durum: all major breeds have gone though massive and inprecise radiation breeding, but with Important success unnecessary fearmongering FRANKENSTEIN

19 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.

20 In the European Union decision making process is too complex, obscure and politically inefficient

21 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 European Commission DG Sanco food/biotechnology/evalu ation/docs/gmo_cultivatio n_report_en.pdf

22 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

23 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

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

25 Genepeace, Not Greenpeace

26 Seasons Greetings with a smile from Allah Attribution: Photo Courtesy of Faye Adams Copyright ©2010 Leona. All Rights Reserved

27 Genepeace, Not Greenpeace

28 Seasons Greetings with a smile from Allah Attribution: Photo Courtesy of Faye Adams Copyright ©2010 Leona. All Rights Reserved


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