| 14-11-2018

The “cutting-edge” technology that puts human rights and ecosystems at risk

The so-called ‘gene drives’ are being promoted by the biotechnology industry as the new magic formula to address health and food challenges, despite bearing incalculable risks for humans and nature.

As agroecology is increasingly recognized as the way to achieve the urgent transition towards sustainable food systems and the protection of biological diversity, the biotech industry and agribusiness push for the release of gene drive organisms. This technology aims to spread genetically engineered traits through a whole population of plants or animals. Most ongoing research projects seek to suppress and eliminate species or populations, making them a far more dangerous biohazard than genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The first major test of gene drives will be the release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in Burkina Faso in the context of the Target Malaria project, whose objective is to reduce the risk of infections by releasing sterile mosquitoes. Yet, the main field of application of this technology will be agriculture, with disastrous consequences predicted for rural communities and biodiversity.

A new briefing published today by FIAN International shows how the gene drive technology undermines peasants’ control over genetic resources and agroecology, threatens biodiversity and poses incalculable risks for human health. It also sheds light on how science is increasingly manipulated to meet corporate interests, rather than to serve the public good.

The release of this briefing coincides with a strong call by a broad alliance of peasants’ and civil society organizations      for a global moratorium on the release of gene drives. As the conference of the parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Egypt draws near, it is expected that states react and comply with their obligations by responding to this call.

You can access the publication     here

For media enquiries, please contact     delrey(at)fian.org

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

·       The 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 17 to 29 November 2018.