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20/December/16
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A GM crop eaten by millions of people and animals around the world may be unsafe because of previously undetected toxic effects, a study has found. Maize that has been modified to survive being sprayed with high doses of weedkiller contains “worryingly large increases” in substances that can worsen allergic reactions and increase the risk of cancer, according to the research. The Times (behind paywall)
 
 
In February 2016, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper included genome editing in a list of weapons of mass destruction and proliferation while presenting the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community report to the Senate Armed Services Committee. IBT
 
 
Arkansas’s Plant Board, a part of the state Dept of Agriculture, wants to restrict the use of dicamba herbicide. Some farmers illegally sprayed the herbicide on Monsanto’s new GM dicamba-tolerant crops this summer, damaging thousands of acres of cotton, soybeans, fruits and vegetables in Arkansas and neighbouring states. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will have to decide whether to go along with the wishes of the Plant Board or those of Monsanto. Arkansas Online
 
 
During the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), countries agreed to investigate how digital genetic sequences may be used to commit biopiracy and warned against a risky new genetic extinction technology called gene drives. They also agreed on a working definition of synthetic biology and to support an ongoing expert group to move forward international discussions on the topic. However, this progress was undermined by a significant move backwards in safety oversight and risk assessment when a key standing expert group expected to issue risk assessment guidelines for synthetic biology was dissolved. ETC Group

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