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Welcome to "Save Our Seeds"

‘Save Our Seeds’ (SOS) is a European initiative in favor of the purity of seeds against genetically modified organisms (GMO). The initiative was created in 2002 by the Foundation on Future Farming and since then advocates no tolerance for contamination of seeds by GMOs.

From this initiative hundreds of organizations and some thousand citizens of the EU have become affiliated with Save Our Seeds’ many activities. The projects combine the genetic engineering controversy and sustainable land and food sovereignty with an international perspective. 

SOS organizes the yearly GMO Free Regions conference, leads the European Stop Gene Drive Campaign,  the Bantam Mais action and is co-publisher of the Informationsdienst Gentechnik (GE Info Service). SOS was involved in the creation of the Weltagrarbericht (World Agriculture Report) and has shared its findings all over Germany. Together with many other organizations, SOS is responsible for the campaign “Meine Landwirtschaft – Unsere Wahl” (My Agriculture, Our Choice), engaged with the realignment of European agricultural policy after 2013.

With its campaigns and initiatives, SOS networks with different organizations, companies, politicians, scientists, farmers, and interested citizens; and wishes to lead a productive debate towards sustainable change.  

78 NGOs call for European ban and global moratorium on Gene Drives

Berlin, 30. June 2020 In an open letter initiated by Greenpeace EU, Friends of the Earth Europe, IFOAM EU and the German initiative Save Our Seeds, 78 environmental, agricultural, animal welfare and development aid organizations from all over Europe are calling on the EU-Commission to outlaw the release of so-called Gene Drive Organisms in the EU and internationally. With this new application of genetic engineering, entire animal populations and species in nature could be reprogrammed or eradicated. 

Enabled by the genetic engineering method CRISPR/CAS9, mosquitoes, mice, fruit flies and other organisms can be manipulated in the laboratory to pass on a certain trait and the mechanism for genetic manipulation to all offspring and across generations. In this way, Gene Drive Organisms can replace their relatives in nature. The Gene Drive trait also asserts itself when it is deadly to the survival of the species – thereby ovveridingthe normal rules of evolutionary selection. 

The signatory organisations are calling on the EU to advocate a global moratorium on the release of Gene Drive Organisms at the next Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The European Parliament had already called for such a moratorium in a resolution from January this year, responding to a call from over 200 signatories from Europe and worldwide. 

"The loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest challenges of our time. While the risks ofGene Drive technology have not yet been scientifically assessed, it could have a massive impact on already damaged ecosystems. It is irresponsible to expose species and ecosystems to further risks“ explains the initiator of the European "Stop GeneDrives" campaign, Mareike Imken from the German initiative Save Our Seeds. 

She adds: „The EU Commission recently presented its biodiversity strategy, with which it wants to make the EU a global pioneer for the protection of biodiversity and put an end to the ongoing mass extinction of species. The Gene Drive technology however is designed to drive wild populations and species into self destruction. The use of such a technology contradicts the aim of biodiversity conservation and the precautionary principle, which is the basis for international and EU nature conservation law. A global moratorium would give us the time to assess environmental and health risks, publicly evaluate and discuss this technology and to establish missing regulations and globaldecision-making mechanisms. In the meanwhile, no one in the world should use this technology." 

Further reading:

Policy briefing: „Why a global moratorium on the release of Gene Drive Organisms is necessary“ by Save Our Seeds

Executive Summary of „Gene Drives: A report on the science, applications, social aspects, ethics and regulations.“ By the European Network of Scientists for Social andEnvironmental Responsibility (ENSSER), Critical Scientist Switzerland and theFederation of German Scientists (VDW), published in 2019.

 

Short documentary on the science, applications, ecological and social ramifications and necessary regulation of Gene Drive technology with statements from international experts, based on the findings of the report (above).

Stop Gene Drive Website

 Contact:

Mareike Imken, policy advisor and head of the European „Stop Gene Drives“ campaign, imken@saveourseeds.org +49(0) 151-53112969


17.09.2020 |

Open letter: Commission turning blind eye to new GMOs

88 civil society and farmers organisations from across Europe are today warning the EU Commission is turning a blind eye to new GMOs and demanding EU health and food safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides keeps new GMOs regulated, in an open letter.

The controversial new generation of food genetic engineering techniques should be subject to EU safety checks and consumer labelling, according to an EU Court of Justice ruling, but the organisations complain the European Commission is not implementing this ruling.

15.09.2020 |

Gene edited crop can’t stand the light of day

On 7 September, Greenpeace and others announced an open source detection test for the first gene-edited crop on the market, SU Canola, developed by US company Cibus. The test was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Foods.

SU Canola is a rapeseed engineered with oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis (ODM), a gene editing technique, to withstand spraying with certain herbicides. Products of gene editing fall within the scope of EU GMO law, according to a European Court of Justice ruling of 2018.

14.09.2020 |

Why the UK could end up deploying risky gene drives while ignoring natural biological control

First they cloned Dolly the sheep. Now they’re targeting grey squirrels. Report: Jonathan Matthews

This summer 78 environmental, agricultural, animal welfare and development organisations from all over Europe called on the European Union to outlaw the release of Gene Drive Organisms in the EU and internationally, warning that reprogramming or eradicating entire animal populations posed grave risks. They’re hoping that the European Union will respect the precautionary principle and reject the release into the wild of this application of ecosystem-level genetic engineering, given its many unexplored risks.

But what about deployment of gene drives in the UK? After all, the UK government deliberately avoided transferring the precautionary principle into post-Brexit law. And given that it has made “liberating” biotechnology a flagship goal and has already begun a push to deregulate gene-editing, it seems highly unlikely that it would support a moratorium.

07.09.2020 |

First open source detection test for a gene-edited GM crop

Brussels – Greenpeace, together with other non-governmental organisations, non-GMO food associations and a food retailer, announced that the first-ever public detection method for a gene-edited crop has been successfully developed and published. The new research refutes claims by the biotech industry and some regulators that new genetically modified (GM) crops engineered with gene editing are indistinguishable from similar, non-GM crops and therefore cannot be regulated.

The new method detects a herbicide-tolerant rapeseed variety that was developed using gene editing, a new form of genetic engineering. It allows European Union (EU) countries to carry out checks to prevent this unauthorised GM crop from entering EU food and feed supply chains illegally.

20.08.2020 |

Podcast #4: What is Technology?

And why do we need technology assessment? An interview with Jim Thomas

In this episode, ETC Co-Executive Director Jim Thomas explains how ETC understands technology, "Mooney's Law," and the utility of technology assessments for social movements. The episode is hosted by Zahra Moloo.

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