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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


30.06.2020 |

Stop Gene Drives
Stop Gene Drives

Gene Drive technology: Species extinction through genetic engineering?

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 EUCommission to outlaw the release of so-called Gene Drive Organisms in the EU and internationally.

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. 

09.06.2020 |

CRISPR-edited rice shows wide range of unintended mutations

Gene-editing tool "not as precise as expected", say researchers in new study. Report: Claire Robinson

CRISPR gene editing in rice varieties caused a wide range of undesirable and unintended on-target and off-target mutations, according to an important new study authored by a Chinese and Australian team of scientists and published in the Journal of Genetics and Genomics.[1]

The researchers were trying to improve the yield of already high-performing varieties of rice by disrupting the function of a "green revolution" semi-dwarfing gene (SD1). They used a stable transformation method that ensured that the CRISPR editing tool remained active in the plants over four generations, so that they could examine the effects over time.

08.06.2020 |

Don't de-regulate risky gene editing, scientists tell Eustice

Amendment to the Agriculture Bill without full Commons debate is "violation of the political process that is not acceptable in a parliamentary democracy"

A group of MPs, peers and the GMO research establishment is urging the government to introduce genome editing into UK food and farming by sidestepping parliamentary and public scrutiny, as Pat Thomas and Lawrence Woodward of Beyond GM recently reported.

(.....)

If adopted, the Amendment would open the door to the deregulation of genetically engineered crops and animals produced using gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR.

The Amendment has not been debated in the Commons and its attachment to the Bill at this late stage of its passage through Parliament appears to be a blatant attempt to avoid a full and open debate on a crucial issue with widespread implications for the farming and food sector and consumer choice.

Now two scientists familiar with gene-editing technologies have written an Open Letter to George Eustice asking him to reject the Amendment and not propose it to the Lords.

08.06.2020 |

Seed savers across Australia are supporting their communities during the coronavirus pandemic

When COVID-19 panic-buying caused a national run on commercial seedlings, a movement of backyard "seed savers" sprang into action to help — and some are now looking to establish greater stocks, in case they are needed again.

Seed savers networks exist throughout Australia and the world — and are often comprised of urban farmers, and balcony and backyard growers.

Their mission is to create a "living bank" of seeds, genetically wired to thrive in particular conditions, and to reduce the need to buy seeds at all, by preserving open-pollinated and heritage varieties that will produce identical plants year-on-year.

In contrast, commercial seedlings are typically not bred to reproduce.

29.05.2020 |

Profiting from health and ecological crisis in Africa: The Target Malaria project and new risky GE technologies

Second-generation GMOs produced from gene drive technologies, genome editing, paratransgenesis and cisgenesis are increasing the scope, scale, depth and flexibility of interventions that can be performed by the biotech industry, including genetically engineering of wild populations and ecosystems. Research and development (R&D) projects are largely financed by European and North American institutions; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF); and the US military research arm – the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

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