Corporate Spin on Gene Editing

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The biotechnology and pesticide industry lobby group CropLife Canada has just launched a website to promote the new genetic engineering techniques of gene editing, or genome editing. The new industry PR website has been published just before Health Canada is expected to propose that some products of gene editing can skip government regulation.

Health Canada will soon propose changes to how it assesses the risks of genetically engineered foods. There will be a 60-day public comment period. Stay tuned to CBAN for updates and to take action.

The new corporate website opens with the boldly false statement that “Gene editing is a proven solution for making healthier food, stronger crops and increasing yields all while using fewer resources.” The techniques are not proven. They are not even commercialized. In fact, the scientific literature is still investigating all the possible ways that gene editing techniques can create unexpected effects, and how to detect and evaluate problems. The techniques of gene editing are new and can cause genetic errors. Click here to read CBAN’s report “Genome Editing in Food and Farming: Risks and Unexpected Consequences” or our short “Introduction to Genome Editing”.

This is a new corporate “campaign”. The website says, “This campaign is supported by organizations and individuals who want Canada, and its citizens to reap the economic, environmental, and consumer benefits of agricultural innovations like gene editing.” The organizations listed include the large biotechnology corporations Bayer, Syngenta, and Corteva which together own 48% of the commercial seed market and 53% of the global pesticide market.

The website is dominated by tales of speculative applications of gene editing for health and environmental benefits. These stories are told in a way that suggests the products are already real, or that the benefits are inevitable. This fiction mirrors media stories that report theoretical ideas of how gene editing could be used. For example, this article about gene edited trees.

This website is part of a global corporate campaign to characterize the new genetic engineering techniques of gene editing as “new plant breeding” and advocate for the removal of regulation.

Get ready to take action with us in response to the government’s upcoming consultation. Stay tuned to this e-news or check for updates on coming proposals from Health Canada.

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Genome Editing

Read about genome editing, also called gene editing: it is genetic engineering, it’s risky, and it needs to be regulated.