Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Available information on the free release of genetically modified insects into the wild is highly restricted

February 02, 2012

While genetically modified plants have already been introduced into the wild on a large scale in some parts of the world, the release of genetically modified animals is still at a relatively early stage. A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany has now published a study examining the free release of genetically modified insects in Malaysia, USA, and Cayman Islands. Their findings suggest deficits in the scientific quality of regulatory documents and a general absence of accurate experimental descriptions available to the public before releases start. The researchers call for clear and accurate descriptions of releases to be very widely circulated before insects are released in a trial - particularly if mosquito species that bite humans are involved. They also provide an innovative checklist to assist journalists and the public in assessing the scientific credibility of regulatory release authorizations.

Genetically modified insects are being developed with a view to suppress insect populations of the same species which spread human diseases, such as malaria and Dengue Fever, or that are agricultural pests destroying crops. The first generation of "designer insects" have been engineered to be fluorescently marked, to be sterile to varying degrees, or both. These insects are released experimentally to develop species-specific and chemical-free ways to reduce the size of insect pest populations.

A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology have now investigated the regulatory history of genetically modified insects, with a particular focus on the pre-release information available to the public in the first three countries permitting free releases: the Cayman Islands (mosquitoes, 2009-?), Malaysia (mosquitoes, 2010-2011), and the USA (moths, 2001-2011). The study centres on the US regulatory experience, which is currently being promoted as a global regulatory model for genetically modified insects.
Global deficits in transparency and public oversight

The world's first environmental impact statement on genetically altered insects was produced by US authorities in 2008 and has since then been used as a basis for approval of subsequent experiments around the world. The scientists raise some doubts about the scientific value of this environmental impact statement: for example the majority of novel transgenic approaches it endorses are based on just two laboratory studies out of approximately 170 scientific studies cited. These two studies focus only one of the four species covered by the document. Apparently, such deficits do not only apply to the US. "We noted that public access to scientific information is highly restricted throughout the world, particularly information made available before releases start", says Guy Reeves from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology.

The Cayman Islands was in 2009 the site of the first free release of genetically modified mosquitoes. There were, however, some doubts about the relative strength of the legal safeguards that existed. The Cayman Islands had no enacted legislation specifically mentioning the release or transportation of living genetically modified organisms. In 2009 only 21 of the world's 191 countries also had not updated their existing environmental protection or animal control laws to specifically regulate living genetically modified organisms. While the Cayman Islands is a British overseas territory and consequently not a sovereign state, it is noteworthy that none of these 21 countries is thought to have approved any release of a living genetically modified organism.

The first and most obvious question of people living in the release sites of the genetically modified mosquitoes (OX513a) in the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, and Brazil is whether humans can be bitten by genetically modified mosquitoes. In public information available in the Cayman Islands and Malaysian trials, this obvious question is either conspicuously ignored or it is implied that the there is no biting risk, 'as only male mosquitoes are released and they cannot bite'. However, it is clearly detailed by the Max Planck scientists, that it is probable that transgenic daughters of the released males will bite humans. This is because the released males are more accurately described as partially sterile males, rather than the commonly used term sterile males - or most recently 'sterile' males.

A potential concern about the effects of humans being bitten by these genetically modified females is discussed. The context of this discussion is not to suggest that this technology is inherently dangerous. It is to highlight the fact that public confidence in regulators will be eroded, if written discussion of obvious and scientifically plausible concerns is conspicuously absent from all written documents. As far as the authors are aware there are no publically available documents that scientifically consider possible human health impacts of being bitten by transgenic females (beyond unsubstantiated statements in the general media).
Community engagement and consent requires transparency

The general lack of accurate information available before starting releases is problematic. This is because community engagement fundamentally requires that release descriptions be widely circulated before releases start. The need for high-quality community engagement, particularly in early releases, has repeatedly been argued as essential by expert scientists. "It is rather uncontroversial to state that in the absence of meaningful and accurate descriptions being made widely available, community engagement cannot credibly be said to have occurred", says Reeves.

If those that conducted the trials cannot produce pre-release written descriptions, then they need to explicitly state why meaningful community engagement and consent might not be necessary for experimental releases into towns and cities. Individuals providing justifications based on the pressing humanitarian need to rush development of this technology, must also explain why the same argument cannot be applied to clinical trials of vaccines.
Giving genetically modified insects a fair trial

Large numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes are currently being released in Brazil. Further releases are reportedly under evaluation in various countries, including France, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the UK. Proposed experimental releases are for both human health purposes and to control agricultural pests.

Given the enormous human burden of diseases like dengue fever and crop loss from insect attack, it is important that new control techniques are developed. Field trials are an essential step in the evaluation process. "However, we need an informed public to ensure that experimental testing of this potentially valuable technology can be given a fair chance and that testing does not needlessly provoke public mistrust", says Reeves. Avoiding the kind of questionable practices which characterized the commercial development of genetically modified plant is likely to be important.

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft


Related Genetically Modified Current Events and Genetically Modified News Articles


New tools to manipulate biology
Chemistry has provided many key tools and techniques to the biological community in the last twenty years. We can now make proteins that Mother Nature never thought of, image unique parts of live cells and even see cells in live animals.

A tool to support public health decisions on Zika virus predicts most planned interventions to be cost-effective
A study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases presents a cost-effectiveness tool that can help guide decisions regarding resource allocation to fund interventions targeted at curtailing the ongoing Zika virus outbreak.

Modified microalgae converts sunlight into valuable medicine
Researchers from Copenhagen Plant Science Centre at University of Copenhagen have succeeded in manipulating a strain of microalgae to form complex molecules to an unprecedented extent.

Junction opening protein boosts cancer-killing effect of oncolytic virus
A new study shows that the anti-tumor effect of oncolytic virus therapy is significantly greater in mice when the virus is genetically modified to express a junction opening (JO) protein, which helps the cancer-killing agent better penetrate solid tumors.

Ebola vaccine: Promising phase I trials
"The results for tolerability, safety, and the immune response to the vaccine candidate are very promising," explains Prof Marylyn Addo.

CNIC researchers identify a new signaling mechanism implicated in congenital aortic valve disease
Researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) have demonstrated the crucial role of the NOTCH signaling pathway in the development of a fundamental heart structure, the heart valves.

New study illuminates key aspects of how we fall asleep and wake up
Falling asleep and waking up are key transitions in everyone's day. Millions of people have trouble with these transitions - they find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, and hard to stay awake during the day.

Mammalian fertilization, caught on tape
The development of every animal in the history of the world began with a simple step: the fusion of a spermatozoon (the male gamete) with an oocyte, or egg (the female gamete).

Genetically modified E. coli pump out morphine precursor
A common gut microbe could soon be offering us pain relief. Japanese bioengineers have tweaked Escherichia coli genes so that they pump out thebaine, a morphine precursor that can be modified to make painkillers.

Body's immune system may play larger role in Alzheimer's disease than thought
Immune cells that normally help us fight off bacterial and viral infections may play a far greater role in Alzheimer's disease than originally thought, according to University of California, Irvine neurobiologists with the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders.
More Genetically Modified Current Events and Genetically Modified News Articles

Genetically Modified Organisms in Food: Production, Safety, Regulation and Public Health

Genetically Modified Organisms in Food: Production, Safety, Regulation and Public Health
by Ronald Ross Watson (Author), Victor R. Preedy (Author)


Genetically Modified Organisms in Food focuses on scientific evaluation of published research relating to GMO food products to assert their safety as well as potential health risks. This book is a solid reference for researchers and professionals needing information on the safety of GMO and non-GMO food production, the economic benefits of both GMO and non-GMO foods, and includes in-depth coverage of the surrounding issues of genetic engineering in foods. This is a timely publication written by a team of scientific experts in the field who present research results to help further more evidence based research to educate scientists, academics, government professionals about the safety of the global food supply.Provides the latest on research and development in the field of GMOs and non-GMO...

What's So Controversial about Genetically Modified Food? (Food Controversies)

What's So Controversial about Genetically Modified Food? (Food Controversies)
by John T. Lang (Author)


The rampant use of genetically modified food incites fierce and seemingly intractable debates among environmental activists, scientists, government regulators, and representatives of the food and agriculture industries. While some portray GMOs as scientific progress, others frame them as a form of perverted science. But why, exactly, are they so controversial? This timely and balanced book explores the science—and myth—that surrounds genetically modified food in order to help us understand just what’s at stake.
 
John T. Lang begins by grounding the debates in the biology and chemistry behind genetic modification. He then shows how food is deeply imbued with religious, social, cultural, and ethical meanings, which bring a variety of non-scientific issues to the forefront...

Genetically Modified Foods : Banned By Other Countries but is a main staple of our diet! (Genetically modified organisms, Gmo, Food that ruin your life, ... Foods, organic food, Food addiction Book 1)

Genetically Modified Foods : Banned By Other Countries but is a main staple of our diet! (Genetically modified organisms, Gmo, Food that ruin your life, ... Foods, organic food, Food addiction Book 1)
by Mano Hano


Quick Knowledge…...intended to furnish the reader with short, simple and to the point knowledge of GMOs. In this digital book reader will locate the accompanying knowledge:-
-List of 10 Banned foods that everybody in America ought to abstain from eating.
-Why many foods and food products we expend in United States are banned in different nations.
-What is the option?



GMO Myths and Truths: A Citizen's Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods, 3rd Edition

GMO Myths and Truths: A Citizen's Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods, 3rd Edition
by Claire Robinson Mphil (Author), Michael Antoniou PhD (Author), John Fagan PhD (Author)


It is often claimed that the case against genetically modified (GM) crops and foods is based on emotion, not science, and that to oppose GM crop and food technology is to be anti-science. It is also claimed that GM crops offer higher yields and better nutrition, that they are safe for health and the environment, that they reduce agrochemical use, and that they are needed to feed the world’s growing population. This book, co-authored by two genetic engineers and a writer/researcher, exposes these claims as false, using scientific and other documented evidence. GMO Myths and Truths summarizes the facts on the safety and efficacy of genetically modified (GM) crops and foods in terms that are accessible to the non-scientist but still relevant to scientists, policymakers and educators. The...

Genetically Modified Foods: Basics, Applications, and Controversy

Genetically Modified Foods: Basics, Applications, and Controversy
by Salah E. O. Mahgoub (Author)


An increasingly hot-button issue, genetically modified (GM) food is considered by some as the best way to feed the world’s growing population, and by others as an experiment gone wrong on the unsuspecting public. Genetically Modified Foods: Basics, Applications, and Controversy details the basics of biotechnology and its applications in the laboratory and the field. It provides a balanced presentation of the pros and cons of GM foods, examining the arguments of proponents and opponents, and covering regulations governing GM food labeling. The book includes definitions of biotechnology considered from different perspectives; examines different techniques, including their advantages and shortcomings; and highlights the unintended consequences of traditional and modern GM techniques. The...

Modified: GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future

Modified: GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future
by Caitlin Shetterly (Author)


A disquieting and meditative look at the issue that started the biggest food fight of our time--GMOs. From a journalist and mother who learned that genetically modified corn was the culprit behind what was making her and her child sick, a must-read book for anyone trying to parse the incendiary discussion about genetically modified foods.

*One of Publishers Weekly's Best Books 2016*

"More so than definitive answers, the questions that Shetterly advances are a persuasive reminder of how important the continued fight for true transparency in the food industry is." --Goop

GMO products are among the most consumed and the least understood substances in the United States today. They appear not only in the food we eat, but in everything from the interior coating of paper...

Death on Taurus: An Action-Packed, Genetically-Modified Bullfighting Space Opera of the Far Future

Death on Taurus: An Action-Packed, Genetically-Modified Bullfighting Space Opera of the Far Future
by J.M. Porup


On Taurus, there's only one good way to die.

On the bullfighting planet of Taurus, in the far distant future, a genetically engineered race of half-man, half-bull stages ritual blood sacrifices to the gods—human viewers light-years away. Vizzer, the high priest who presides over the daily slaughter, loathes the fights and wants to end them.

When news arrives that the humans have destroyed themselves in an interstellar civil war, he deposes the king and outlaws the fights. But not all the humans are dead. Carlos the Creator lies in stasis on Taurus itself. Vizzer comes face to face with an enraged and ancient god. And in so doing, he must also confront the truth of his own savage nature.

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public
by Steven Druker (Author)


This book uncovers the biggest scientific fraud of our age. It tells the fascinating and frequently astounding story of how the massive enterprise to restructure the genetic core of the world's food supply came into being, how it advanced by consistently violating the protocols of science, and how for more than three decades, hundreds of eminent biologists and esteemed institutions have systematically contorted the truth in order to conceal the unique risks of its products–and get them onto our dinner plates. Altered Genes, Twisted Truth provides a graphic account of how this elaborate fraud was crafted and how it not only deceived the general public, but Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and a host of other astute and influential individuals as well. The book also exposes how the...

Seeds for the Future: The Impact of Genetically Modified Crops on the Environment

Seeds for the Future: The Impact of Genetically Modified Crops on the Environment
by Jennifer A. Thomson (Author)


Plants have long been genetically modified through crossbreeding and other basic agricultural techniques to make crops more resilient, nutritious, and profitable. In recent decades, however, advances in genetic engineering―including the ability to blend genetic material from animals with that of plants―have allowed farmers to grow crops that resist insect pests, weeds, viruses, and drought; provide increased iron or beta carotene; deliver vaccines and antibodies; reduce common allergens and pollutants; and augment marketable qualities such as delayed ripening. The complicated scientific, environmental, legal, cultural, and ethical issues surrounding these crops are being hotly debated all over the world. In Seeds for the Future, an internationally respected molecular geneticist and...

Introducing GMO: The History, Research and the TRUTH You're Not Being Told (Introducing Genetically Modified Organisms) (Volume 1)

Introducing GMO: The History, Research and the TRUTH You're Not Being Told (Introducing Genetically Modified Organisms) (Volume 1)
by Mark Plummer BSc (Author)


+ FREE SIRT FOOD Healthy Eating Recipe PDF Book

Have you asked the question 'What are GMOs?"
Where did they come from?

Who creates them?

How will they affect myself and my family?

Are they dangerous?

If so, what can I do about it?

What you'll find out by reading this eBook
An objective overview of what is meant by plant genetic engineering (GMO) and an insight as to where the science and technology came from. An explanation (without being too 'sciencey') of how the genetic engineering of the DNA of plant species is being combined with other species, both plant and animal, to create new forms of life that are being sold to us as "food".Why the biotech industry is so interested in the genetics of our food supply.A historical journey dating...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com